Monday, August 8, 2011

Whitewater Experience

"I was pretty sure I was going to die!"
"I thought I was going to be wearing the rubber sombrero!"
"I was so relieved to be back in the boat that I would have kissed Andy, but there were too many other instructions being called out!"
"I really didn't want to let go of my rock to take the end of the paddle being offered was a real leap of faith!"
"I saw Ryan coming over the top of me...I let go of my paddle, and shoved him back in the boat."

But wait, I'm totally getting ahead of myself.  I am Sally, Sadie's Mom, and I am guest blogging.  Today was our day to go whitewater rafting....and I'll just get right to the point....we dumptrucked!  AND.....since no one from our guide service will EVER read this....I'm going to say I seriously don't think it was our fault.  But again, I get ahead of myself.

It all started quite innocently....all of us got to the pick up point on time and rode the almost two hours to where we put into the the section of the Arkansas River that we had chosen to raft.  We listened intently to our lead guide and our raft guides instructions and headed to the river after this lovely "before" pic was taken.

After this, we headed to the river. I must say I was a bit concerned when the head guide "gave" us to our very young guide saying, "Let's give this group to Jordan....they look strong."  (Like...that would throw a red flag up for any mother in a raft with her kids, right?).  We got started and did a fantastic job...seriously!  I have rafted before, and I'm telling the truth when I say we were all dilligently listening to the guide and doing what was asked of us. We were praised for our good listening skills....and I'm a kindergatrten teacher and I know what good listening is!!!  We had a lovely ride for the morning doing a several smaller rapids and gaining our confidence.  We pulled in for lunch looking forward to a great break and some nourishment.  Here we are at our lunch spot.

 (Sadie and Ryan)

After lunch...we headed to a part of the ride that was described as much more technical...due to the  lower water. I know you have all heard about the higher water levels in the mountains this year due to the high snows...and this section of the river is ususally not floated after the 4th of July....but we were also told that it is really low now, and that would mean lots of navigating around boulders that were not visible as recent as a week or so ago.  We were doing  fine....and here's a pic to prove it.

And then...less than 5 minutes later, things got exciting. We were navigating through a spot in the rapids that had one particularly nasty looking rock showing....the boys in the front of the boat saw it coming....our guide gave us instuctions and we followed them.  But....somehow...we ended up going arund the rock and the rapid sideways.  Now, at this point, each of us has our own perception of what was happening...but since I'M the guest blogger, I get to tell MY story.  The next thing I knew, my side of the boat, which was upstream, started taking on water.  In the same second...and I mean SECOND, the other side of the boat raised up, and  began flipping us into the river.  One, Two Three, Four....they said we looked like dominoes!  Our guide never called "Highside Left"...which would have meant we should all go to the left side to level the his defense, I don't really think there was time.

(Sorry that there are no pics of this part...we were all quite busy)

At this point, Sadie, Joey, Andy, Jim (for just a bit), and I were in the water.  We all did an amazing job of keeping our feet forward.  I went under a couple of times, and I lost sight of my two babies.  Our guide helped Jim who was already halfway back in the boat. Before I knew it, the boat was behind me, and Andy was doing a full water rescue, lifting me by my life preserver shoulders and pulling me back in the boat.  Let me tell you, I am so glad that I never did anything to make him hate me, because he could have easily left me float on down the river to my death, (not really...but when you're in the 55 degree water dodging pretty big boulders, believe me, it does cross your mind!). 

Jim and Ryan were doing a fantastic job of  keeping the boat going in the right direction with our guide.  Once I was in the boat, my mommy instinct kicked and I started counting heads...finding out that Sadie and Joey were still in the river.  I began asking people where they were...I spotted Sadie behind the boat tucked into a calm space between two rocks....she says she was clinging on by her fingernails. I could not see Joey, but was assured that she was on-shore....both girls performed amazing "self-rescues".  The rafts behind us managed to pick up the girls.  I was quite relieved to see them both come around the bend in other boats....and the rafts in front managed to pick up all our oars. Once we all got back together, we all had to get our heads back in the game because we still had about a third of our trip to complete.

Which went just fine.....thankfully.  Here are a couple of pics where there was a cool jumping rock...Andy and Ryan were brave.

(Andy looks like he is standing in the river...but he's just going in.)


Upon disembarking from the river, our bus stopped at a liquor store where we were allowed  to purchace adult beverages to consume on the two hour ride back to our hotel.  Needless to say, being a few hours removed from the "situation" as well as having two beers in my system, we had a GREAT time talking over all of our experiences and laughing about them. In the moment, it was scary, but now in hindsight, I'm sure we were in less trouble than we all felt we were.  Lots of great memories were made.  The river was swift and clean and the canyon we were in was amazingly beautiful.

So...that was our Monday..., and to quote Sadie from yesterday,....what did YOU do today?

1 comment:

  1. Great guest blog... you should start one yourself!

    Sounds like a great day and the pics of the last couple posts were beautiful!!