There are lots of different ways people acknowledge the beginning of summer. Some folks see the end of school as summer’s official start. Many consider Memorial Day weekend as the official start of summer. For the past 31 years the annual Gray Water Boys / River Rats canoe trip has been the event I use to remind me that summer is officially underway. Like sunsets at 11pm aren’t enough of a heads up…..
This year we canoed a section of the Potomac River. This is the river that in 1947 gave birth to our annual trip. The members of the group (ages 19 to almost 91 – my dad) hail from all over the East Coast, Ohio, Colorado, and Alaska (obviously).
This year’s trip marked the last year that Tom Gray will organize this annual river soiree. He has been our organizing mastermind for about 50 years. Simple thanks are not enough for all of his efforts over the years.
This trip has become an import part of our family. It is a chance for me to visit with my dad, brothers, brother-in-law, nephews, cousins, cousin-in-law, and friends to relax, tell stories, and enjoy life.
Things began in 1947 when the three Gray brothers canoed most of the length of the Potomac River. An account of the trip was published in the National Geographic Magazine in June of 1948. This trip, in a much shorter form, became an annual late spring tradition for the Gray family. Over the decades the trip grew and the ‘family’ that participates has expanded to include many friends. It is an extended weekend of music, stories, and family.
Rains prior to the trip resulted in the river level being up enough to create a pleasantly swift current but not dangerously high rapids. We were pretty lucky with the weather. There was a short rainstorm Saturday night that held off until most of the crew had turned in for the night. On Sunday it dumped for about 30 minutes while we were taking out at the end of the trip.
All of the slideshow photographs are in a gallery at this link: Gray Water Boys Photo Gallery 2019
If you are a Gray Water Boy (past or present), friend, or family member feel free to download any of the slideshow photographs from the gallery. If not, don’t even think about it…..