These Are the (Sick) Days

In rivers, the water that you touch is the last of what has passed and the first of that which comes; so with present time. — Leonardo da Vinci

We just spent a few days parked at the Deschutes river, which was great, except that we were supposed to  raft down river for three days with some good friends. Unfortunately we all got sick, like dominoes–first Sol, then me, and Tree. But it’s hard to complain without sounding like a child who’s whining that there’s no cherry on top of his sundae. After all, sick or not, we did just spend a few days on the Deschutes.

The Deschutes is a special river to both me and Tree, for different reasons.  Eight years ago, Tree took me down the Deschutes for three days with Kiki. It was Kiki’s and my first river trip, ever. I absolutely LOVED it. I was a city girl gone wild. A year later, Tree took me down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon for 3 wks, and that trip changed my perspective in a monumental way.  In fact, it was immediately after that trip that Tree and I moved into the van and started this nomadic life. But it all started with the good ole Deschutes. Kiki, however, was none to impressed, evidenced by the photo below. At one point, she actually tried to jump out of the boat and swim to shore. She was a little slower adapting to life outdoors–it’s hard when you’re black and furry and stickers get stuck in your paws–but she came around, eventually.

kiki 1_1

Unlike me, Tree grew up on the river. His dad used to own a rafting company called White Horse that took private groups down the Deschutes all summer long.

From around eight to sixteen years old, Tree and his brother worked for their dad. Their job was to guide the support raft that was loaded with kitchen supplies, tents, and dry-bags to camp, and set everything up before the clients arrived. Thinking of those two brothers, doubled up on the oars, scrawny and strong the way growing boys are, pushing through rapids as fast as they could together in the hot summer sun, makes my heart smile.  These days Pa probably would’ve been arrested for child endangerment, or at the very least labeled an organic, free-range chicken. Wait, what??? I mean, parent. Free-range PARENT.  We can’t label our food if it’s made with GMOs, but other parents, no problem.

Somewhere in the middle of all that, Tree’s Uncle Mick would also take the boys to the Deschutes river to kayak. Who knows how many days Tree surfed right here, on this same wave at Surf City, thirty years ago.

Tree Kayaking

And, of course, kayaking led Tree to the JR World Championships and Olympic Development team, and then to starting Outdoorplay. It’s crazy to think how fertile some experiences are. A whole life can grow out them.

Tree and the Dancer

Which is why we were so excited to bring Soleil here. This short trip was her first of many to come.

Soleil and the Dancer

And although we didn’t get to float down river with her in a raft, she still got to play at the shore…

Soleil guiding Daddy in

And sit in Daddy’s boat….

Daddy and  Sol Dancer 2

And make sand castles with mama…..

Sol and Mama Selfie

Sand Castles
And get good and dirty…

Soleil dirty1

Soleil dirty2

And see this magnificent butterfly!


The funny thing is, Sol was terrified of the ‘mariposa.’ And, yet, earlier, we started walking down a trail surrounded by tall grass, and a snake darted out and squiggled past us. I screamed to high heaven and immediately made us turn around, but Sol just whined because she wanted to keep going. “No pasa nada, Mama.”

But a butterfly, oh no.

I guess the butterfly got lucky. Tree always says that a bug’s worst nightmare is a 2 year old. She routinely picks up worms, beetles, and grasshoppers–any bug, really–and carries it around like it’s her best  friend:“Hola bicho! Tienes hambre? Quieres comida? Tu eres muy guapo, bicho!” And, then, without fail, I hear her start to cry, “uh-oh, mi bicho esta muerto.”  As if she’s not the one that squeezed the life out of it.

If you look carefully, you can see the butterfly flying while Soleil holds her her shovel out in terror, “No mariposa! NO!” She said it was trying “to get her.”  Because that’s what butterflies do. They get people.

Butterfly in fight

The good news is that we have another 3 day Deschutes raft trip planned at the end of August, this time with Pa and Nana. So maybe it all worked out for the best. Now Pa gets to be there on Soleil’s first descent down the Deschutes, which I know he’s real excited about. And, looks like Soleil is, too.

Soleil in the Sand Smiling



  1. Tree was in the Olympics????

  2. Yes, in ’92 and ’93, slalom racing. I think. Oh god, bad wife! I think I got the years right, but not positive. He was a young buck, traveling the world, representing his country 😉

  3. By the way everyone, leave a comment on the blog and get a big surprise!!!!

  4. I know, I know! 🙂

  5. We love the Deschutes as well, and were just there last month. Between that and the John Day, plenty of great river time. Hope you’re all feeling well. Poor Kiki, I remember that photo… not a happy pup. Any more pups in your future?

    • I’m sure I have another dog in my future. I absolutely love dogs, especially the special soul-dogs that find you. Both Kiki and my dog before her, Cubbie, showed up–LITERALLY–on my doorstep. It may take that kind of an obvious message again since we’re definitely not looking for one. We’re planning on taking some international trips in the next couple years and then going to Europe to overland for a while, neither of which is conducive to having a dog. But, sometimes exceptions have to be made. And love is more important than convenience. We shall see what happens 🙂

  6. That kid’s hair just slays me! It’s amazing.
    Love you guys!

    • Me too! It’s super cute. I was just thinking of you the other day. I went checked nomadic kitchen and noticed you haven’t been posting. But I did see your sangria recipe and thought…..ooooh, it’s that time of year! I’m actually going to have a recipe section on my new blog (if I ever finish it). If it’s okay with you, I’d love to republish some of your stuff with credit and links to you, of course. xo

  7. I’m leaving comment because I heard a rumor about a big surprise (and also, you guys are great, keep doing the thing that you’re doing and PREACH, SISTER!)

  8. Bahaha! I commented, I got the surprise, it was adorable.

  9. Shaun Galanos says:

    Keep going with your bad selves. I just picked up an old Tacoma and you guys have inspired me to take the dog and drive across the states, sleeping in the back.

    • Aweome! So stoked for you and Roger. You guys are gonna have a blast. I hope our paths cross soon. I wanna meet your better half.

  10. FREE-Range Parent…well Stevie that’s a 1st…but probably true. In those days Tree and Adam were the youngest guides on the river racing older/seasoned guides to the best camp sites. There were times, on river straight aways, that the boys would double up on the oars and pass other guide boats (referred to as barges because of the load) just to get to the best camp site first. When I arrived with our quests, (at times 8 to 16) they would have the kitchen set up, all the tents…and the happy hour food and beverages prepared. Everyone was so impressed, and I was so proud of them.
    And so looking forward to our trip the end of August with Soleil.

    • Hey, thanks for the comment, Pa!
      There’s no doubt about it, you got great kids and grandkids. You done good.
      Can’t wait to sip our VTs on the river. xoxo

  11. Cool just decided today to take my little guys over to Maupin for their first dip in the D chutes next Thursday. Good back in the day memories.

  12. Kaycee b says:

    A little girl afraid of butterflies but not snakes! WOW! I am the exact opposite. 🙂

    • I think she’s a little confused. The other day we were out climbing and there were like ten bees buzzing around and landing on us. Tree and I kept squealing and running, but Sol was totally oblivious. It’s like her danger meter is in reverse.

  13. You people never fail to bring me a smile! Thanks for so generously sharing your life with us. Bisous, baci, besos!


  14. Claudia Acosta says:

    I can totally picture Soleil running to you excited to show you her new found bug. Why would she be scared of a butterfly and not a snake? Hmmmm…voy a tener que enseñarle que las mariposas son realmente bellas. But in true Soleil fashion, she would probably convince me that snakes aren’t that bad after all.

    Hugs and kisses for you!

    • Los niños de 2 anos son raros. Todos. Te extrano, amiga! Nos vemos en Septiembre. Tienes que acampar con nosotros en Cardiff. Y también SanO…te escribo un correo pronto sobre este asunto. Tengo ideas! Uh-oh………

  15. What a wonderful life!

  16. So beautiful. I love when everything works out for the better. I bet Sr. Is so stoked. Beautiful piece Stevie. Thank you.

  17. Ahh kitten. You’re wonderful.

  18. Teri Hogan says:

    Great story! That pic of Kiki was priceless!
    Hope you are all feeling better, you had fun
    anyway and the river will be there in Aug. Tree
    is pretty amazing as are you Stevie! It’s very
    interesting to me that Sol is bothered by the
    beautiful Mariposa but not bugs and snakes.
    I wonder if it’s because it is flying?
    Love to all of you, Teri

    • I think you’re right. She was okay with the butterfly when it was still, resting on the sand, but when it started flying towards us, she started screaming. Although she’s not afraid of bees; of course she has no idea that they sting. I just chalk it up to the weird things two year olds do.

  19. Cute furry kitten!

  20. MysteryFlowers says:

    I can relate to Sol. I’ve been terrified of butterflies my whole life (I’m 38 now). My friends used to catch them and chase me. I can’t really explain why they creep me out though.

    • Oh my gosh, you would not have liked the butterfly sanctuary then. Tree and I went to a Monarch sanctuary in Morelia, Mexico about six years back. There were millions of butterflies filling the sky, the sound was like angels humming, and they’d land on you…. Yeah, I don’t think we’ll be taking Soleil there anytime soon 😉

  21. John McClenny says:

    That may very well be the last Dancer still on the water :).

  22. So Lovely!
    Tree introduced me to the river…(out East anyways) years ago and it changed my life and perspective and stays with me always 🙂 xo!

    • Wow! That’s so awesome…makes my heart swell. Thanks for taking the time to share that with us. It always feels good to know when you’ve made a positive contribution to someone’s life…that’s the real success, right? xo.

  23. Hey! She’s doing EXACTLY as expected! Mud is her job!

  24. Icimani says:

    Always look forward to your posts, they always put a smile om my face,
    thank you for sharing. Ici

  25. barro salud , saludos familia

  26. Fer….no estamos seguros, pero estamos pensando en ir a Mendoza en Noviembre. Vas a estar alla?

  27. super cute… looks like a great activity for the family.

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