Friday, June 4, 2010

A little story, my Last Whitewater rafting experience

I am going to veer off the path I usually stay on with Kayaking and let you in on a seldom told story of the last time I went white water rafting about 10 years ago.

So, let me give you a little bit of a background before getting into the actual story. This is in Southern Idaho. I was much younger then, (with no kids to think about) and always up for a good time. Unlike many at that age, my good time in Idaho included white water rafting on the snake river, rock climbing in the canyon- take your choice there are plenty,snowboarding at the local ski resort a short 45 mins away, etc. So, here we are on a family camping trip, and we meet up with some friends who we would frequently go rafting with. Now, on a side note, my dad was never really comfortable with this, it always made him a little nervous but the gentlemen who cared for us rafting was very reliable and safe so going was rarely an issue.
So, this camping spot was about an hour outside of Boise about 3/4 hours form where we lived. We load up to- go on this raft ride and my dad decides he just was not comfortable with us going this time around. After talking things over we convince him to just come with us. Let me tell you I am so happy we did.
We had no idea there had been some major flooding in the area, and the river was deemed a danger to be on. Not knowing this, we load up and are on our way.
We get going and immediately realize how much faster the water was moving then normal and how many tree's had been knocked down in the way. All of us were a bit nervous but happy to be on the water. Once the raft really gets going we realize the danger we were in, avoiding tree branches at face level and the almost uncontrollable speed of the raft.
Our leader Alex managed to get us close to shore and said 'on the count of 3 everyone get out... 1,2,' and my brother was out of the raft! Yet, he was the only one to make it out. As Alex jumped out of the raft to pull us closer the water was deeper then it seemed at he was sucked under the boat. As his terrified wife is screaming for him, he pops his head up, as she continues to yell for him to get back in, he strongly yells 'I have to find a way!!!' We are able to get Alex back in the boat with us and we were on our way down this treacherous path with my brother left in the distance behind us, not knowing where on the river we were, he just ran beside on shore as close as possible.
Things at this point get very scary, we run over a large branch from a fallen tree and it punctures a nice little hole in the bottom of the boat. As Alex' wife can handle just about no more, she yells back to my dad "Say A prayer with us!" My dad yells back "say your own!"(say your own has become a staple saying in our family from this point on)
Not knowing how much time we had with suitable air in the boat some quick thinking had to take place. We are now able to direct ourselves about as close to shore as possible and my dad jumps out holding a rope and pulls us up on shore. We are all sitting there a bit stunned at what we just experienced. The raft is quickly losing air, and we now notice, we are on an island! Yes a small Island meaning we had to get back in the water to get on to solid ground. I am not sure if I have mentioned this, but Alex' wife is paralyzed from waist down. So as you probably guessed, we have to figure out a way to carry her across the water, and walk to the street, which was visible so maybe only half mile from us. Alex and my dad decide a place for us to cross and here we go again.
Swimming as strong and hard as I ever have in my life, we make it across and start walking to the road. A car pulls over and said they could see us dragging the raft and carrying a person and offered us a ride to wherever we needed to go, so we head back to camp.
It was a very quiet ride back, as everyone just sat there, I imagine just reflecting on what we all just lived through together.
My dad would not allow us to go back on out white water rafting after that day and although at the time I argued that was one back experience out of 100... I am now thankful to at least have that as my last memory of white water rafting,it was quiet the ride, it was quiet the day and I guess as of right now this is all I have to say.


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