Monday, August 18, 2008

The Rafting Trip

It's taken me a while here to catch up on my life, as summer winds down and school prep winds up. Just the mere mathematics of trying to cram a whole summer's worth of activities into the few days when it hasn't rained here is mind boggling.

However, even with the mentalness going on right now, I couldn't miss out on posting about my recent white-water rafting adventure.

A few months ago, GH entered a raffle to win tickets to go white water rafting. I completely forgot all about it because, frankly? We never win ANYTHING. But, lo and behold, GH called me at work one day to let me know we had won the rafting trip. It was then I began to stall.

When I was younger, I was a real daredevil. These days? Not so much. Since having kids, I feel my mortality as a tangible thing, heavy, and pressing, making my heart race when I hear words like "white-water rafting".

I continued to put GH off, refusing to talk about the trip, waffling on setting a date to take the trip. Finally, GH booked the trip on his own, informing me of the date after it was all said and done. I panicked. I had agreed to make a lovely cake for Emily over at The White Hall Craig's for her daughter's birthday. Thanks to GH's scheduling, I had to miss out on the chance to make a cake, and meet a fellow blogger. (And Emily, I'm still so sorry and hope you don't hate me forever).

I stewed. I freaked out. I complained. The thought of being cold wet and terrified was not my idea of a good time. Oh, and did I mention we'd be camping? Oh, and that it had been raining for like a million days straight with no end in site?

On the day of the blessed event, my mother took the kids to Vermont, and I picked up GH after work, the car already packed the night before. And we proceeded to drive for over two hours, after a full day of work. And it was raining. And a a douche in a truck tried to run us off the road on purpose (The police were called, it was a whole thing, and worthy of a post all its own.)Suffice to say, when we finally reached the campsite I was less than thrilled. I made GH ask if we could rent a cabin instead of having to pitch a tent in the rain, but they were all full.
Miserably, we made camp in the rain. GH tried for an hour to build a fire, but it just wasn't happening. Finally I made him give it up, and we crawled into our tent, cold and grouchy.

But then, nothing compared to the cold and grouchiness of waking at 4 in the morning to find out you're sleeping in a small lake. Which we did. We finally made our way up to the restaurant at the campsite at 6am for hot breakfast and coffee. When the campsite and rafting manager asked us how we were doing, we told them our stuff was soaked and we were cold and wet. Awesome people that they were, they offered to dry out our sleeping bags and pads, and even my soggy clothes. Things were looking up, but it was still raining, and the prospect of rafting the swollen river had me wanting to crawl into my car and take a nap.

Luckily, the company that was doing the rafting trip, Riverdrivers, also managed the campsite and restaurant, and we met up with our guides and fellow rafters right there after breakfast. I opted to rent a wetsuit to to the cold and the rain. It was not pretty. Just picture 10 pounds of ugly in a 5 pound sack. GH told me it was slimming. I still wanted to slug someone.

Our instructional meeting freaked me out and I thought I was going to have a panic attack. we went through what to do if you got tossed out of the raft, and were warned "The nearest hospital in an hour away-and it's not a good hospital." I wondered if anyone would notice if I peed my wetsuit before we hit the river.

GH and I became a part of a group of two other men, and three teenage boys, who referred to themselves as "Alpha Team". I was not thrilled. Our guide was a tiny little thing, only 19 years old. I considered peeing again.

Once we actually hit the water, there was no time to think about anything else. We paddled. Hard. And a lot. When we hit the first rapid, I clung desperately with my legs, dug in hard with my paddle... and didn't fall out of the raft! After that, the experience was amazing. Our guide was excellent, and a lot of fun. "Alpha Team" was a bit obnoxious, but not too out of hand. We even got to get out of the raft and swim some rapids. I inhaled half of the river, but still had a great time.

(GH is the one in the Gordon's FIsherman style yellow rain slicker. I'm the one directly accross from him in the blue helmet with my mouth hanging open)

(And here's one where I'm paddling really hard. We were told paddling would keep you on the raft. I really wanted to stay on the raft...)

(And then there's this. I'm the one totally peeing)

I did almost fall out once when we hit a big "hole". Luckily I fell into the raft and on top of GH and not into the river. Yeah me!!!

When it was over, we made our way back to the campsite, where it had stopped raining, and were treated to a delicious steak lunch, which was part of the rafting trip. I was totally exhausted, but proud that I done something that scared the pee out of me.

That night, the rain held out, and GH and I had a late dinner over the campfire, complete with s'mores. The wonderful people who ran the company even provided us with cot mattresses so we'd be comfortable and dry if it rained again. Our guide even came to join us for s'mores and wine coolers.

After this, GH and I have decided to make the rafting thing an annual trip. We already have a bunch of friends who are eager to join us. We will definitely be going with Riverdrivers again. And next time, I'm renting a cabin...


emily said...

You are totally forgiven:) it sounds awesome!

I think it is a good thing to get out of your comfort zone once in a while!

Angela said...

Yeah for you!!!!! Love the pictures!!!!

Alisha Wilson said...

I peed my pants once in Boston but it was Absolute night at the bar, who could blame me?

painted maypole said...

i was just thinking a few days ago that we should have gone rafting on our road trip. maybe next time.

good for you for overcoming your fears and grouchiness and having a good time!