Monday, March 5, 2012

About 6 months ago I was 'spotlighted' at work and thought it might be fun to share...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Adventure Is Out There!

August 14, 2011
(You'll probably notice I have to put dates on top of my posts because the events happened way before I actually got around to posting about them. I'm lazy, I know.)

I had a pretty awesome adventure last summer, nay, a WAY awesome adventure. I went white water rafting!  It's one of those experiences I wasn't sure I'd ever have.

Well ... enter my friend Erin with an offer I just couldn't refuse. Camping. Whitewater rafting. The Colorado River. Everything provided. $40.


In 5 words or less -- It was a blast!

I drove down to Moab-ish area Friday night with Erin, her dad, step-mom, and her step-mom's sister. We camped right next to the river. It was absolutely gorgeous with a full moon to boot. Erin and I sat on some rocks and chatted for probably an hour. Oh and there were these little desert frogs everywhere! (sorry BJ for not knowing their scientific name). I thought they were so cute until I picked one up. Bad idea. I had forgotten about the little buggars' ''defense mechanism'' which is to pee on it's attacker.

The next morning we were up bright and early and prepared to head down river. The guys in charge got the boats ready and then gathered everyone together to give us a little run down of the days activities. We'd float about 2 hours, then hit about 10 rapids spread over about an hour and a half, stop at a beach for lunch, then float another couple hours until we got to the take-out point.

After that little shpeal they told us they were going to offer a prayer. I'm thinking ::well this is Utah, prayer before everything, alright, normal:: Aaaaaaannnnnd...

You put your right foot in,
you put your right foot out,
you put your right foot in,
and you shake it all about.
You do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around,
that's what it's all a-bout.

So that just give you a little taste of the awesome group we were in. We had 3 rafts as well as another supply raft, and 2 kayakers. In my raft were myself, Erin's family, and another really cool couple, Dan and Megan (Dan used to be in Erin's dad's scout troop which is how we got hooked up with this awesome adventure).

Our group ready to go rafting!
And we're on our way!

The kayakers

Another picture (not mine) of the river and beautiful black rocks

Going for a little swim before the rapids start. It was awesome! It was like a natural 'lazy river' and the water was so warm.

After about 1 1/2 hrs of floating we stopped at 'Outlaw Cave' for a snack and some last minute instructions for navigating the rapids. I didn't get my own picture, but Outlaw Cabin was pretty cool and had a bunch of old stuff - shoes, bottles, ovens. The story goes that these guys robbed a bank and hid out there for years. Then they were discovered, a scuffle ensued, and two of them were killed. We saw what is supposed to be one of their graves a little bit down stream. The other guy was never found. I just love Wild West stories :)

Instructions for the rapids:

1. Listen to your captain (the 'director' on each raft who sat in the back and yelled instructions - right, left, ROW!, stop, etc)
2. If you fall out of the raft, DON'T PANIC, 99% of the time you'll end up coming out of the water right next to the boat. Just grab onto the rope attached to the side and hang on. And don't try to get back in before the rest of your team is ready to get you in. 

I'll just say...this information came in handy for me later :)

Coming up on our first rapid
And here...we...go.
Ok, I have to stop here and talk about what a rush whitewater rafting is. It's sort of like the rush you get on a roller coaster as you hit the crest of that first hill and start the freefall down the other side. Only with this, you're not safely buckled into a seat, and you can't see the 'track' in front of you. You do your best to control your course (and it's actually pretty amazing how much control you can have of the raft), but you really don't know which way you're going to end up, or if the boat will tip over, or whatever. It was so exciting. Each time we came up to a rapid it was like a new adventure.

Watching the other raft prepare for 'Skull Rapid' - This one was CRAZY, yet so fun!
So...Skull Rapid...we went into it heading the right direction, but then at the last minute got turned to the side and went into it sideways! I was sitting on the left side with the seat in between my legs and my foot jammed into the side. I felt pretty secure, but after we came out of the first rapid, my side of the raft went up in air at what felt like a 45 degree angle. It was so weird and felt like it was happening in slow motion, but I could feel myself slipping out. I tried to hang on but just couldn't do it, and into the Colorado River I went haha. But they were right, I came up right next to the raft, hung on, and just listened to the captain who kept just telling me to hang on. So not only did we survive Skull Rapid, I did it outside the raft!

Looking back on Skull Rapid after we made it out alive 
Erin and I (this is right after I took a dive in the water, not really looking cute, but who cares, right?!)
On our way down the river we found this cliff to jump off. Erin said she was doing it so of course I had to :). Believe it or not though, the scariest part wasn't the was the climb up! We had to climb up that rock on the right of the picture and those rocks were slippery! I was seriously nervous I'd slip and go tumbling down it, but this nice guy was behind me and said he'd catch me if I fell haha. Can you see me??

When we got to our take-out point a few of the group had to go back and get the cars which would take about an hour and a half. Were we just going to sit around and do nothing? No way! Not us. The guys flipped one of the rafts over to use as a kind of slip 'n' slide catapult. It was awesome, we would run down the boat loading ramp then jump onto the raft. Once you slid to the other end they'd lift it up and you'd go shooting into the air. So fun! Here's me about to be catapulted.
Fellow whitewater rafters

Whitewater rafting is such a blast. So go ahead and take the plunge. ADVENTURE IS OUT THERE!!