4) When things go wrong on the river, they go wrong fast and they go really wrong.
This is an unedited excerpt from a hasty entry in my waterproof notepads on day 2 – it’s a ‘lil bit melodramatic, but it a scary moment:
Fearless? Not so much. Shaking. Quite a bit. This isn’t Disney World. This ride isn’t automated or carefully controlled like Epcot’s Maelstrom. And unlike scary movies, you can’t shut my eyes when things get tough or frightening. You need to face the fears: eyes open, danger ready.
Because when things go wrong on the river, they go wrong fast and they go seriously wrong.
Today we did Hell’s Half Mile rapids – these were the ones discussed around the campfire last night and over breakfast this morning. We only had 90 minutes of rafting time today, but these would be intense. I’d been warned.
But before we got to ½ Mile, in the smaller rapids just before – Triplet – things went wrong. Fast and Serious.
A boat flipped.
The passengers were okay and Capt. D eddied out, then went back on foot to assist with the recovery.
J-bean, Matt and I had a moment’s quiet panic, before we were sent back into the main channel in case a swimmer – or as happened, the upside down boat – needed to be caught.
It couldn’t have been long, but it was a blur of in and out our raft, catching the overturned rafted as it floated pasted, tying, untying, heaving people back in the boat and screamed commands. Fast and serious.
J-bean told me to tie us off – once we’d secured the overturned raft. I climbed to the side and asked, “Now?”
Her hollered response of “No!” sounded like an echo to me so I splashed overboard and proceeded to break the first rules I’d been taught: Never position yourself against a rock. Never try and stand up in the current. *
My out-of-the-moment commentary: At the time when I wrote this, I was trembling so hard my cursive was barely legible, but I think it was also the most FEARLESS moment of the trip. Because I scrawled this down after Hell’s Half Mile rapids.
And after Triplet and the flip, when we got out of the boats to scout the trickier rapids, I didn’t want to get back in. I wanted to sit and drip on a safe, dry, flat surface. I didn’t want to hear about a rock named Lucifer or passages that needed to be avoided. I wanted to stop trembling and re-learn how to work my lungs.
But when Capt D said, “Let’s go.” I did. FEARLESS
*I was lucky. I ended up with teensy scrapes and some rather large bruises. It could’ve been so much worse and I’ve learned my lesson. We used “Red light” and “Green light” instead of No/Now for the rest of the trip.