Our mother never turned down a good adventure.  We knew she would be all for a rivertrip, so did Griz.  Griz was a highly skilled outdoorsman who grew up in Michigan, served the Navy during WWII in the North Pacific, and logged countless hours floating his canoes, Castor and Pollux, on many, many rivers.  He was ready to log more on the Mackenzie River with our mother.  She was all for it.

They piloted Pollux.  Our mother, Ken, as Griz called her, sat at the bow.  Griz manned the stern.  He always said Ken was the best ‘bow man’ he ever had, followed by his big hearty laugh.  An old CIA buddy controlled the stern of Castor while a ‘young buck’ (as they called the young man) sat at the bow.

This 1,000 mile river trip was just  beginning practice for them.  For after they returned from it, Griz was already planning their big float.  They were going to the Northwest Territories of Alaska to paddle the Yukon River.  An 1,800 mile canoe trip on the wildest river in North America.  Our mother did not blink an eye.

We have decided to let our mother tell us their story in her photographs.  All these photographs and notes belong to her.  They serve to remind us of the strength, fortitude and the adventurous spirit of our mother.

Ken admiring a king salmon.

Ken admiring a king salmon.


Carl wrote of their adventures on the Yukon River. It is a wonderful story, well written, full of photos and beautiful drawings done by his daughter, Mary T. Laur.


Jim, the bow man, and Neil, manning the stern.


They look so small.


Our mother never passed an opportunity to photograph twins—of any sort!


For our mother to be in this wilderness so many days is amazing.

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The Legacy Our Mother Left—#8

This was what a very wise sales lady told me years ago after I described what I wanted done to a piece of my jewelery.

I never saw that sales lady again.

She was wiser than I at that moment in life when I was so full of motherhood and babies. Well, I am full again, only this time with aging parents and grand-babies. Her advice would have been timely once again last month when I foolishly stopped riding lessons.

It was a rash, “pregnant” decision. Even the horses have been lonely. They enjoy our students every bit as much as I. It can be overwhelming, this responsibility of aging parents and grand-babies in different towns. I can say with surety, being at home with 5 young children was easier. Though at the time I did not know it. Everyone under the same roof makes a huge difference. Now, there are many places to go to care for my family. So in my “pregnant moment”, I made a poor decision. It took only one week to realize it.

I have contacted the students and apologized, and have asked if they would consider continuing with working around the times available to us. Some have!! I hope the others do as well.

A talented musician told me once when we were discussing life careers of a good way to know of the choice. He said if you cannot imagine a life without it, it probably is your passion and is worth pursuing. He was right also!

Come on! It’s time to go riding!

Go home, come back when you are not pregnant!