Short Film Showcase: Rediscovering Youth on the Colorado River

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In 1970, Forest Woodward‘s father, Doug Woodward, led a trip down the Colorado River because water had always given him “a sense of wonder.” When Forest was born in 1986, Doug wrote his son a poem with the words “you always remember the path that leads you back to the important places.” In this short film by production company Gnarly Bay, Forest attempts to re-create his father’s original trip down the river. By observing his father back in this important place, he hopes to learn some of life’s lessons. Seeing him “not just alive but living again,” Forest finds that “there is a hell of a lot more to come down the river” and that “the joy is in the journey.” I spoke with Forest about some of his important places.

You talk about being raised near the water. Where did you grow up?

I grew up in the western tip of North Carolina—the heart of Appalachia and [with] arguably some of the best white-water boating on the East Coast. There are photos from the pond below our house of Mom and Dad teaching me to swim, pushing my little white baby butt back and forth in the water between them at a couple months old. At age four they had me kayaking the Little Tennessee River that runs a mile or so from the house, and over the years the sweeping bends and roaring shoals of that river helped to sketch the cartography of my youth. In the summers Dad would stand in the pond up to his chest as we paddled kayaks around him like drunk ducklings, learning the strokes, how to wet exit, and eventually [how to] roll our boats. As a result I have always found —> Read More