Slow travel is the deliberate deceleration of a journey so that the small looms large, the particle becomes profound, and the blood races with the adventure and discovery of the Amazon in every dewdrop, the Everest in every trail stone, the Redwoods in every swath of grass, and the galaxy within every snowflake.
Walking down a vacant road on the way to Padum, capital of the ancient kingdom of Zanskar, about five kilometers off the river, I pass a Tibetan monk with his distinctive red kasaya wrapped obliquely about his shoulders. He stops, and in halting English asks my age. When I tell him, he looks me in the eyes and says, "Ah, you have short life left." It's a daunting thought.
Alternatively tranquil and tumultuous, the Rogue chisels through the bristled plateau of the Siskiyou Mountains, taking on the character of a coastal river: steep-sided, narrow and heavily forested with moody, molting pools and sudden, spuming chutes and rapids. The French trappers who worked this watershed in the early 19th century found the waters troubling, but the Takelma Indians more so, and so the trappers called the river Les Coquines ("the Rogues") after their local adversaries. Almost two centuries later the Rogue would prove a scallywag of a river for me as well.