Michael Russell Gives His Wife a Packraft & Takes Her on the Adventure of a Lifetime to Big Bend National Park, Texas – A 5000 Miles of Wild Story
Photo & Story by Michael Russell
My wife and I are approaching our first year anniversary, later this month. But our first Christmas together will always be memorable as both my wife’s first multi-day river trip and our first packraft trip, together. In fact, my Christmas gift to her was her own packraft, so what better way to celebrate Christmas than to give her new watercraft a test run by carrying it 22 miles through the Big Bend backcountry, around the very large Mesa de Anguila to put in at Lajitas and float the famed 20+ Santa Elena Canyon of the Rio Grande on the border of Mexico (and all in just two nights!).
We spent Christmas morning on the banks of the river. I don’t know if a beautiful woman like her fully understood what she was getting into when she married a prematurely-wrinkled river rat from Idaho like me. But she is very tolerant. And we’ve been chasing rivers in full-force ever since, whenever we can find enough water and the time off of our busy work schedules to relive that magic. But there’s just something special about the first river trip. I love her with all my might and am so proud of her for such an incredibly ambitious first packrafting trip! Here’s to many more in the years to come.