In my never-ending quest to push the envelope, I figured my next challenge would be to tackle whitewater rafting. My trepidation wasnt what most people would expect.
I love to swim,
I love being out on the water and am generally fearless when
boating. What I was frightfully anxious about was the coldness
of the water.
No use in shocking the goods -- that kind of jolt can't be good for the old cardiovascular system.
The idea of capsizing into an icy Montana river, as one can imagine, was not my idea of a good time. I'm fully convinced that hypothermia can happen in the dead of summer -- especially when the water was Montana snow about fifteen minutes ago.
Heading in to be outfitted for our excursion, the fact that a helmet was issued didnt faze me. I was sure that rafting companies have to be careful for insurance reasons and no one wants to play rock-paper-knoggin out on the river. I was completely calm, in fact, as the three guides -- who could only be described as your quintessential Dudes -- were handing out the gear. Surely we couldnt be doing anything hazardous with these young whippersnappers at the helm.
I happily donned the ray-o-sunshine yellow helmet, the deliciously day-glow orange vest and the darling little waterproof booties. To top off the ensemble, I chose a bright blue pair of Davids swimming trunks. I was a near-radioactive thing of beauty.
my fashion-forward oats, I boarded the van that hauled us to the launching
Things took underwent an abrupt turn for the real once we reached our destination. The Dudes got all professional on us. Uh-oh. Listening to the rapid-fire instructions I suddenly was made aware of several things:
1) The river
was full of crazy big rocks that had to be dodged.
2) Even if I wasnt tossed overboard, I was going to be drenched in freezing cold water.
3) The darling booties werent for decorative purposes -- they were actually protective gear.
4) I was expected to row (I found this out as a Dude handed me an oar).
5) The reason my garments were so bright was so I could be easily located after being dashed upon the rocks.
In addition, I learned how to respond when I was tossed overboard, that I was to board a raft with only one Dude and five other people that had never rafted before and that I was suddenly terrified. Great.
Still, I was here on a fear-conquering mission and - by golly - I was going in. I held fast to my oar, strode purposefully to the raft and situated myself on the bench. Our Dude sat at the rear and we were on our way.
it wasnt so rough. The serene beauty of the canyon was overwhelming.
I actually COULD drag my hand along the water. Dude was once again
relaxed and dude-like and we were yucking it up again. It was
Then came the first big bend of the river. Like a flume ride at an amusement park (that you could drown on) we were set into action. The floor of the raft quickly took on freezing cold water. Dude was suddenly shouting out commands -- like a stoned drill sergeant -- and we scurried to follow.
talk was NOT just for insurance purposes! We were oaring for our
lives -- and I was pretty darn sure not a single person in our
raft knew what they were doing. It was exhilarating!
Theres a beauty to being scared witless. My mind held only the task at hand. I had completely put my trust in Dude -- the same Dude who was bragging on his drinking antics just moments before in the van -- because I had no other choice. My clueless comrades-in-oar were doing the same.
After those initial rapids, the river became peaceful again and the cheers of victory went up as oars were double-pumped overhead. Tales of bravado were excitedly tossed around. I felt as though I was aboard a vessel with my only friends in the world.
We were a team that, together, conquered the wild river -- and our fears. Collectively, we couldnt wait for the next rapids.
Bring it on!Veronica, GypsyNester.com
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