The Important Places: A Father-Son Journey Down the Colorado River

“The first time I experienced the Colorado, water to flesh, was in a kayak. Inside my being there was an awe that is indescribable,” 70-year-old Doug Woodward recounts in the video as he prepares to return to the Colorado River 43 years after his first trip.

In this heart-warming short film from American Rivers, acclaimed photographer Forest Woodward and Brendan Leonard chronicle a father-son journey down the Colorado River. The trip simultaneously illuminates the beauty and fragility of the canyon and of life as Forest grapples with the reality of his rapidly aging father and struggles to find his own path.

“Sometimes we get stuck, in eddies and in life. Currents that won’t let us go in places we shouldn’t be,” narrates Forest. “As we get older, we look at our parents and we wonder what they’re doing, we think they’re losing it. But what I realized is Dad never had it figured out in the first place. He’s still finding his path.”

Doug Woodward may be pushing 70 but on the oars he looks spry and eager. The beautiful short film captures the joy of river-running and the significance of finding our way back to the ‘important places.’

This film is all the more timely considering the array of threats the Colorado River currently faces. Let’s protect our Important Places!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go call my dad.

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  • Sharon Schierling

    Beautiful! I cried. Best vacation ever.

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