By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 9/20/2019
Occurred: 9/2/2007
Topics/Keywords: #Arizona #SaltRiver Page Views: 3947
We go floating on the Salt River and spot a herd of wild horses!

I don't usually like to do anything far from home on "official" three-day weekends, because the traffic's usually too dense. But the section of the Salt River we like to float is only about twenty minutes from the house. And so we made (what is likely to be) our last float trip of the season on Sunday, and were rewarded by a rare and special visit from a herd of wild horses that lives near the river bank.

Daughter Jenny in front; crowd of non-floaters in back.

The start of the float was not auspicious. It seemed like everyone in the county had come to Salt River; one of the two parking lots called "Blue Moon" was full and the other, nearly so. That's our usual put-in point. And the river bank was mobbed, but mostly with picnickers, not floaters, which was good. In fact, the river itself was less crowded than it had been Memorial Day weekend, and less rowdy than it was lass week, when my grandson Zachary and his friend Chris had their first exposure to a woman's bare breasts (courtesy of a thoroughly-trashed and not-that-attractive twentysomething trying to get the attention of a collection of teenaged boys floating past).

Zachary and Big Papa share a float.

Which is not to say that this weekend's crowd was, in any way, reserved. In fact, they were obviously drunk to the point that my daughter Jenny, Zachary's mother and manager of a women's substance recovery center, remarked that it was too bad she hadn't brought her business cards with her to pass out.

We were glad when we finally floated past Exit 4, where everyone else left the river to catch the bus that is part of the tube rental concession, and drifted into the part of the river that is almost always deserted. By now, three of our four floats—which had seen heavy use for the past two years—began to deflate. We were about to become upset. That's where the herd of horses showed up.

Son John Rachel

We've seen this herd before; one or two may have come to the river's edge to drink as we float by. We've never gotten a picture because by the time we could get the camera out, we'd already floated past. But this time we were lucky. We'd come to a shallow spot, so shallow (more so than usual; the river was running low) we had to get off our floats and wade. My son John decided he wanted a photo taken of him and his girlfriend, Rachel. So I took out my brand-new digital camera from its double-ZipLok bag and was just about to shoot, when Rachel squealed and pointed behind me. There they were: first just a few braver equine souls, followed by the whole herd. They didn't just cross the river; they splashed each other and made happy horse sounds, obviously enjoying the cooling water immensely.

Depending on the weather (if it's still hot…which is likely), we may make one more float in September, perhaps the weekend of the fifteenth. If we do, the river will probably be a lot quieter. And we may not see any horses—or we may. One of the charms of floating down the Salt River is that you're never quite sure what you will see.

I must admit, however, that I do prefer wild horses to wild boobs. (But maybe that's just me!)