Growing up, the Colorado River played a significant part of my life. I was born and raised in Yuma, Arizona, where part of the Colorado River runs through, just a little way from Old Stage Rd. My mother would drive me there in her LQQ-011 Thunderbird, and I would sit excitedly throughout the ride there. Little June Zwan would imagine sailing a ship down the river, being saved by a young boy who would have to cross the stream to save her.
I can still vividly picture the times I’d swim in the river or trek along the banks, imagining myself on a ship, sailing down the river to faraway places. The river has also been a source of water for people and a means of communication, so it plays a significant part in the lives of many people.
Memories of the Colorado
I have many other memories of the Colorado River. One time when we were near the river, a little fox ran across the trail and hid near a large boulder. A little girl was nearby and just got hooked at that point. I could see it in her eyes that she really wanted to know more about foxes, about the terrain, the plants, and the temperatures. I guess I sort of saw younger June Zwan in her; she saw the magic and enchantment of the place just as I did.
The Colorado River mostly does remind me of my childhood. The sound of the water moving and splashing against boulders, and the sweet smell of the river are all so nostalgic for me.
The beauty of the river
The river itself mostly runs through the highlands of the Rocky Mountains because the source lies there. It travels through deserts and wetlands, all the way to the Gulf of California. Only a small part reaches Yuma, but even that is worth seeing. Large boulders scattered on either side of the river, along with the bursts of green from the trees that are scattered along the mountain ranges that spread as far as the eye can see. The blueness of the river mirrors the blue of the vast sky above.
Dangers faced by the river
It really is one of the most breathtaking sights you will see in the United States at least. It’s the country’s seventh longest river, but sadly due to human activities and climate change, the river is slowly drying out. You can see water rings at the edge of the river on the rock walls that show the drop in the water level over the past decade. The increase in temperatures has led to a faster rate of evaporation; the hotter it gets, the quicker the river will dry out. Water pollution has also resulted in making the water much less suitable for drinking or domestic use for the locals, who depend on the river.
I’m afraid if we don’t take decisive action, the Colorado River, along with so many others, will slowly dry out. It’s an important freshwater source for millions of people and a remarkable place to visit. It will be such a loss if we are unable to protect it.
Sometimes I imagine how devastated 9-year-old June Zwan would be if she knew what would happen to the Colorado River with time. June Zwan from the past wouldn’t give up though, because a crisis can still be averted. If we protect our freshwater sources and keep them clean, we could still improve the situation before it’s too late. It will be such a loss if we are unable to protect it.