Women writers connect with nature on river trips in the West

Posted October 21 2015.
Feature story about ILCW Member Page Lambert (USA)
By Colleen O’ConnorThe Denver Post
Posted:   09/03/2015
Author Page Lambert spends some time with her Arabian horse Farside in a community pasture near her Mount Vernon home in Golden. (Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver Post)

Lambert by McCrimmon

Page Lambert’s first raft trip through the Grand Canyon changed her life. Even the danger didn’t stop her. At the Lava Falls Rapid, considered the biggest and most scary, her raft shot into the air, and she plunged deep into the murky water. She surfaced, gasping for air, but the waves dragged her back down.
Still, she persevered, and that night, “elated and grateful,” she bonded with the crew over margaritas and steak.
“It was my first outdoor adventure that paired my love of writing with my love of the outdoors in a physical way,” she said on a recent afternoon, sitting on the deck of her home in Golden. “That experience was so powerful to me.”
It inspired her to create river trips for women, which she’s been doing for 18 years. This year, her six-day journey that starts Sept. 21 will travel down the Green River of Utah’s Majestic Canyons.
She schedules these trips toward the end of the rafting season because they’re not about “maximum whitewater, life and death, a thrill every minute,” she said. “They’re about letting the river replenish you.”
Since ancient times, women have gathered at rivers, bathing children and washing clothes and filling cooking pots. “It’s where we cleansed and purified ourselves,” she said. “Where we went to tell ourstories and share our dreams, to create a vision for the future.”
The theme for this trip is reaching the crossroads of life — professionally, personally or artistically. Because such transitions can be like navigating through fog on a river at night, she believes wisdom is best gained by relying on the senses.
“When there’s nothing but nature around you, all of those senses are heightened,” she said. “You’re suddenly keenly aware of the smell of dampness on the air or the shift when the winds begin to blow — you see it in the grasses.”
Being rooted in the present moment, she said, is essential for good writing and artful living.
Women and wilderness
She’s become expert at making course corrections in her own life.
As a young adult, she was working for a financial planning firm in Cherry Creek when everything suddenly changed.
“I met a cowboy and fell in love,” she said.
They married, and moved to a tiny town in the Black Hills of Wyoming, where she started a new life as a young wife and mother and began writing stories.

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