I first met George Wendt and his sons in 2011 when we shared 14 days on the Grand Canyon. In the downtime between rapids or next to the campfire I prodded him for stories about the early days in the Canyon and his time on other rivers. He told me about the inner tube raft he built for Glen Canyon and I shared how, 37 years later, I used to take my Coleman raft off small dams and waterfalls near my hometown before I had the money to buy a kayak.
Unfortunately this was also his first Grand Canyon trip since his wife Pam had passed away. And although you could feel his loss, you could sense a much deeper sense of contentment that only comes with a long life rich with experience and love.
Since that trip, I have shared other rivers with the Wendt family and while the scenery was different from that of the Canyon, that deep seated contentment from a life well lived and a prideful joy of seeing his boys on the river has remained.