The News - Enterprise  Page 1D Sunday, October 1, 2000


Elizabethtown group
explores rivers during
its annual trek

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Like past trips to the Upper Missouri River area of Montana and the Rio Grande in the southwest, this year's involved canoeing.  The Voyagers Group explored the Green and Colorado rivers.

Click on each photo to see enlargement.

Staff Writer

    "Where the eagle glides descending, there's an ancient river bending - come hear the silence," goes the motto of a canoe livery owner along the Colorado and Green rivers.

    For 10 days in September, 17 members of the Elizabethtown Voyagers Group 2000 took time to hear the silence and to enjoy being surrounded by untamed nature.

    The group followed the trail of John Wesley Powell, who explored the Green and Colorado rivers in the 1870s. The trip's activities included canoeing down the two rivers, hiking through canyons of southeast Utah and observing the various wildlife that inhabits the area.

    "You don't run into people very much along those rivers," said Jack Scott of Elizabethtown, who organized the trip.

    The calm canoe rides yielded visions of steep rock walls that unfolded around each bend, Scott noted in a reflective writing. Occasionally, the carvings of the Anasazi - an ancient Native American tribe - stood out from the cliff faces.

    Over the course of the trip, the group canoed about 50 miles and hiked about 50 miles, Scott estimated.

    "We stopped whenever we wanted to and climbed a mountain," he said.

    Hiking through the side canyons revealed petrified woods and stone arches. The group saw the tracks of mountain lions, mule deer and blue herons as desert lizards and horned toads scampered in the shadows, Scott wrote.

    The 100-degree temperatures of the day gave way to brisk nights at 50 degrees and cooler. In the dark, darting bats kept the

campsite insect-free. The trip coincided with the waxing of the harvest moon, making constellations easy to see and identify. Each evening after devotions, the group shared songs and stories around the campfire.

    Some members of the Voyagers Group - a collection of relatives and close friends from the Elizabethtown area - have been taking adventure trips like the one to Utah for more than 10 years. The last two trips also have involved canoeing, as the travelers explored the Upper Missouri River area of Montana and the Rio Grande in the southwest.

    In addition to the serene scenery and blue skies of Utah, what made this year's trip special was the food.

    When Scott was organizing this year's trip, Fred Butler volunteered to plan and prepare the meals. With the help of Tom Cooper, Butler served breakfasts of aged country ham, hot biscuits and red-eye gravy. Dinners included steaks - prepared to suit each traveler's taste - salads and pineapple upside-down cakes.

    "We ate like kings and queens," Scott said.

    On past trips, the group had an outfitter and a guide who provided food, Butler said. But this year, members decided to blaze their own trail. Butler said he volunteered to prepare the food because he enjoys cooking, and the camaraderie promoted by a group meal can't be compared.

    "I know from past trips, if everyone does their own cooking, it's just not the same as if you can share one meal together," he said.

    o  Features writer Katherine Pearl can be reached at 769-1200, Ext. 235.


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The serene southwest scenery made the group's trip ideal for meditation and writing, group leader Jack Scott said.
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Steep rock walls unfolded around each bend as the group meandered along the rivers.

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The cliff faces of southeast Utah, like the one some group members decided to rest on during a hike, were part of the natural beauty the trip offered.
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Jack Scott, organizer of the Elizabethtown Voyagers Group 2000 trip, on the plains of Utah with natural, majestic beauty behind him.
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Fred Butler and Tom Cooper prepared meals at each campsite. Meals included biscuits and gravy, country ham, steak and pineapple upside-down cake.

Photographs courtesy of the Elizabethtown Voyagers Group 2000

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