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The Middle Fork American River and Ruck-A-Chucky Falls. Photo by Eric Peach.

Rafting and Reflecting on the American River

The Middle Fork American River and Ruck-A-Chucky Falls. Photo by Eric Peach.

The Middle Fork American River and Ruck-A-Chucky Falls. Photo by Eric Peach.

When I looked at the list of outdoor activities for this year’s Outdoor Writers Association of California (OWAC) spring conference, a rafting trip down the American River practically jumped off the page. “Let’s do this!” I said to Kathy. “I haven’t rafted the American River since 1973, when I was a graduate student at Sacramento State.” I had also worked as a paid intern for the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors during that time and learned firsthand about a fledgling organization called Friends of the River. Friends of the River was mounting a campaign to stop the proposed Auburn Dam project. It seemed that certain political heavyweights were pushing to bury the breathtakingly pristine north and middle forks of the American River under several hundred feet of water. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed and the project was eventually abandoned. Natural treasures like the American River Canyon are never completely safe, however. Like a bad cold that just won’t go away, the plan to build Auburn Dam still rears its ugly head from time to time.

Author Steven T. Callan shares information about The Game Warden's Son; Badges, Bears, and Eagles; and his career in wildlife protection with the Red Bluff Rotary

A Warm Welcome from Red Bluff Rotary

Author Steven T. Callan shares information about The Game Warden's Son; Badges, Bears, and Eagles; and his career in wildlife protection with the Red Bluff Rotary

Sharing information about The Game Warden’s Son; Badges, Bears, and Eagles; and my career in wildlife protection. Photos by Kathy Callan.

Thank you to Tom Amundson and the Red Bluff Rotary for making my presentation yesterday a real pleasure. Kathy and I received a warm welcome and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

We were also impressed to learn of all the community service projects performed by this exceptional group. They are truly an asset to their community.

Outdoor Writers Association of California President Tom Martens presents Steven T. Callan with the 2016 "Best Outdoor Magazine Column" award. Callan also won the 2014 and 2015 "Best Outdoor Magazine Column" awards.

“Best Outdoor Magazine Column” Award Third Year in a Row

Outdoor Writers Association of California President Tom Martens presents Steven T. Callan with the 2016 "Best Outdoor Magazine Column" award. Callan also won the 2014 and 2015 "Best Outdoor Magazine Column" awards.

Outdoor Writers Association of California President Tom Martens presenting me with the award. Photo by Kathy Callan.

What a thrill it was to receive the “Best Outdoor Magazine Column” award from the Outdoor Writers Association of California (OWAC) for the third year in a row, at the OWAC spring conference in Auburn. Thank you to OWAC and to the faculty of the journalism department at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, who were the judges in the competition.

Entrance to Cave Creek Canyon and the Chiricahua Mountains. All photos by Steven T. Callan.

In Search of the Elegant Trogon

Entrance to Cave Creek Canyon and the Chiricahua Mountains. All photos by Steven T. Callan.

Entrance to Cave Creek Canyon and the Chiricahua Mountains. All photos by author.

I’ve always been fascinated with birds, but I really became hooked on bird-watching, or birding, as it’s often called, during the mid-seventies when I was a rookie Fish and Game warden down on the Colorado River. Warden Bill Peters and I were patrolling the river south of Earp, California, when we spotted a large bird off in the distance.  “That’s a peregrine,” said Peters, focusing his binoculars on the fast-flying raptor.  “Looks like a female.”

Author Steven T. Callan and Friends at the Chico Costco Book Signing for The Game Warden's Son

Scenes from a Book Signing: Chico Costco

Author Steven T. Callan and Friends at the Chico Costco Book Signing for The Game Warden's Son

Having grown up near Chico and graduated from Chico State, I always enjoy coming back to my old stomping grounds. Last week’s successful book signing at the Chico Costco made this occasion extra special: I was able to visit with classmates I hadn’t seen since high school and make a passel of new friends. Kathy and I had a great time and thought we’d share our experience by posting a few photographs.