2011-10-03 Rafting Through The Eyes Of A Novice – throwback blog

Another blog moved to this site to have all in one place.  This was originally posted in Facebook Notes.  I found the picture that was associated with the trip too (our fun pic, not the “in the store” pic).  Damn I miss these people and the river…that needs to be remedied.

I believe this was the last time I went rafting.  I think I might change that this year.  Seven years is TOO long. Until I moved to Mason County, I rafted every year – even came in from NYC to do it.

Rafting through the eyes of an experienced novice
October 3, 2011 at 9:46AM
Whitewater – it never ceases to lend a sense of awe to my life whenever I am able to enjoy a day on the river with friends.  Yesterday was no different.  Our band of merry little fellas braved the cold and struck out for an adventure on the Lower Gauley River.

My random ponderances from the day…..

* wetsuits are unforgiving and hide nothing

* fleece and layers are our friends

* if you can’t laugh at yourself and your own mishaps – rafting (and wetsuits) might not be for you

* working as a team is amazing – working as a team to make your guide tell you all to ‘fuck off’ is priceless

* rocks are not soft and fluffy

* Canyon Doors on the Gauley is one of the most breath-taking sights i will ever see in my life

* there are two different meanings to “dumping your girlfriend”

* swimming a rapid and making it out whole (though maybe battered) on the other side is a badge to wear proudly

* you can raft the same river dozens of times but each experience is different

* one of the best hot showers you will ever have could possibly be shared (separately but together) with three other girls, who are freezing just like you, and while one sings songs from Titanic (there is some morbidity to that)

* rafting pictures make me look as if i am constipated

* sharing a day of screaming, giggling, laughing, razzing, swimming, warming up and reliving the day – well, that, my friend is something everyone should experience and hope that you are fortunate to do it with great people who enhance the experience

I swam the lower part of Hell’s Gate.  A guy used my head to buoy himself up and out of the water (no bueno).  I got a scrape and (what feels like) maybe a slightly pulled shoulder muscle.  But I made it to a rock on river-right and sat, crosslegged-style with my legs kind of wrapped around it, the flow of the water kind of holding me in place.  We had one boat garbage-dumped and one flip, and one boat from a company directly behind us flipped.  I watched from my cold little perch as the other boats captured the swimmers, uprighted themselves, and made sure all were accounted for and ready to move along.

There was one moment, while sitting on the rock, that the world offered clarity to me.  Go ahead, give me shit – I know, I’m not Plato…BUT – it did.  You can look at life like the river – pushing us all along in the direction it wants us to go – unyielding, never stopping, intimidating, scary, fun, slow, fast – but still, pushing us all along in the direction it wants us to go.  Yeah, we can steer the boat and aim for places we want to reach.  But, even with doing our best to steer in the right direction, maybe we take a hit and fall out or even swim a little.  But as long as the people you have in your boat (aka your life) are there to extend you a hand, get you back in the boat – you are able to upright yourself and continue on.  Sometimes we are unable to get someone back in the boat.  And, although it is tragic and heart wrenching, it happens.  It matters who you have in your boat.  That makes the experience (aka your life) more rich and memorable.

I am very fortunate my boat, and my life, have both been filled with wonderful people.  We share our lives with each other, our experiences (both good and bad) and we make our way, down the river (and through our lives) to our destination.  Days like yesterday make me glad that I have surrounded myself with people who matter, who add flavor to my life.

Thank you Ike Mootz for yet another memorable trip.  I am very fortunate we have become friends as we have.  When I count my blessings, you and Ang are definitely in the numbers…. Love you guys!

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