GCRG Fall Meeting


   The good thing about all that snow was that it kept the riff-raff out. Only a hundred or so of the hard core made it up to Pack Creek Ranch in Moab where Jane and Ken Sleight hosted our Fall Meeting.

   We chose Moab for two reasons: First, to try to better connect with some of the northern Grand Canyon boaters who feel Flagstaff is too far south. Second, to act as sourdough starter for a sister organization centered around the upper basin tributary rivers.

   On Thursday a small group of us toured the River Running Museum in Green River with Roy Webb. He told us a lot about the boats up there and we watched a few old videos of trips in the 1930’s to 1950’s. We adjourned to Ray’s Tavern for a hearty dinner.

   On Friday we set up our bigtop tent at Pack Creek, where Dennis Silva and Sarah Martin fired up a fine soup kitchen for the weekend. Then it started snowing.

   In the evenings we watched a few more old films and, around the fire, we heard some great tales of yore, all perfectly true, from Ken Sleight, Cliff Rayle, Bob Quist, Marv Jensen (remember him?) and a few others. Great stuff.

   Saturday morning we held our general GCRG meeting, covered current developments and discussed some of the touchy ones like air traffic, the Grand Canyon Superintendency and, of course, poop disposal. We wrapped our part of the program up around noon, and after lunch launched into the Great Unknown of the alleged new group. We started with about a dozen of GCRG’s old hands in the center of the room, giving advice, warnings, encouragement and ideas to a room full of interested folks. Although initially the northern folk seemed a bit timid, afraid to speak up too loudly lest they get put in charge, one by one voices and personalities began to emerge.

   Mid afternoon someone suggested it was time for the GCRG folks to move to the back of the room and see what happened. We did, and were amazed and delighted. Tentatively at first, then with more and more momentum, a group developed and leaders emerged. There was denial at first, of course, “I’m not leadership material”, “I don’t have the qualifications”, “I don’t have the time”, “No one knows who I am”… (Familiar ground for us!) But their momentum got the best of them and at 3:07 (or was it 3:08?) they made it over the hump and went ballistic. There was no turning back.

   We broke for dinner. They didn’t. At their first official meeting on Sunday morning we watched from the sidelines as responsibility was delegated and accepted; issues were discussed and dispatched in a fraction of the time it took us when we started. Suzette DeCoster-WEISheit bravely agreed to be the first president and others signed up for other posts soon after. They chose the name Colorado Plateau River Guides and, for starters, based their organization around many of the same principals and by-laws that GCRG has evolved over the years.

   For us at GCRG it was exciting, rewarding and even a little emotional. Something was born there with a potential and a direction of which we can only guess.

   We encourage all of you with upper basin interests to join their organization ( see application on opposite page), to give them input and energy and be a part of the team. Now, at their beginning, is when they need your energy the most. Get after it.