Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I spent quite a bit of time around rivers and streams. The Columbia, the Snake, the Deschutes: these are just a few of the rivers I’ve walked alongside, floated in, and driven over on road trips during summer vacations. The Frio River, which cuts through the Texas Hill Country, was a new kind of river for me to discover. Rather than a massive body of water flowing out of mountain ranges, falling over cliffs, colliding and rushing into steep rapids, and forcing its way through hydropower turbines, the Frio was narrow, secluded, and calm. However, the steep rock cliffs rising above it were evidence of a more furious past, when its energy shaped the dramatic landscape that surrounded us.
Over the course of three different trips to Texas, I was able to spend some time with Nate Clarke (director) and Chris Payne (sound) swimming below and flying over the surface of the Frio, hoping to record a glimpse of the life it carries. I’m happy to share the result with you: