Slice Of Life

Slice Of Life, is a Weblog (BLOG) that I write, in which I try to tell some sort of story about something, or someone in my life. Sometimes it's happy, sometimes not, sometimes informative, sometimes...... HA, gotcha, did ya think that I was going to say not? Don't know me very well, do ya? :=) I will try to update the BLOG from time to time, whenever I can.

My Photo
Location: Chandler, Arizona, United States

My personality is outgoing, I use to be a wallflower, until I realized that it was all the outgoing people that were having the most fun. It was a tough conversion, but nobody I know today would even remotely consider me to be a wallflower. Basically, when I was young, my parents taught me that if you work hard, you can accomplish anything. I haven't quite found the "anything" part to be always true, but it has inspired me to always try to do, and be, my best.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Row Row Row Your Boat, Gently Down The Stream.....NOT!

A few weeks ago, my Adventure Club went up north of Phoenix, to do something I've been wanting to do for awhile..... River Rafting. I know, I know, I've previously written about that time I went (so called) River Rafting in the Grand Canyon, but this was different. The Grand Canyon rafting was with motor powered rafts. While that was fun, REAL river rafting to me means "Paddle Yourself". That's what we did this time.

We hooked up with the Tucson Adventure Club that we sometimes pair up with for these trips, and we drove ~ 2 hours north to an area just above the town of Globe, and started our "Salt River Adventure" just north of the town. We hooked up with a company called "Salt River Rafting" (go figure). They offer overnight and 3 day river rafting on 'The Upper Salt" (Ya like that river rafting lingo, eh?), so this time the club did the overnight. There were 23 of us, 12 from the Tucson club, and 11 of us "Phoenicians".

We carpooled up there with all our stuff, and the rafting company provided wet suits, wet suit booties, life jackets, and even helmets. I was a little "concerned" about needing a helmet, but on the other hand, the thought of bonking my brain on a rock, settled that concern immediately. We all got our paddles, and then hoofed it down to the rafts, where there was ~ 15 minutes of safety and paddling lecture. Basically, keep your hand on top of the paddle, so if the blade hits a rock, you won't get a face full of paddle (good advice in my book), listen for the commands "Right side forward (1,2 or however many stokes), Left side back, All Back etc etc", and most importantly, if you fall out of the boat, point your feet downstream, and float, we'll rescue you (you better).

6 people per rubber boat, plus 1 guide who steers from the back (4 boats total). I'm not sure why, but I always seem to get the front, whether it's rafting or roller coastering, or whatever. No problem, because like they say, "Only the lead sled dog has a clear view" :-) In this case, I was "right side, front". I was pretty confident as we shoved off, because after all, the guide said, the upper section is Class 1's and 2's, the middle is 2's and 3's, and the lower section is 1's and 2's. No problem.... right? I said..... RIGHT?

Yeah, right. About 50 feet from the start, we hit the first rapid. The critical thing they told us for rowers, is for everyone to stroke at the same time. Of course we didn't, and so we got pushed to the right.... right towards a cliff wall. With me being in the front right, guess who is going to be the first "wall kisser". The guide was yelling "Left Back Hard", Right Forward Hard" trying to steer us away, but I could tell we weren't going to have enough space...... so, BONK!! The right front of the boat hit the wall, , then the nose, then the left front, then we were going downstream..... BACKWARDS!!! So, we navigated the first rapid section in reverse, much to the delight and laughs from the other 3 boats in the group (sigh).

Anyway, after a kind reminder from the guide to "paddle together people", we got our timing down really well before we hit the tougher sections of the river. I'm not sure what Class 4's and Class 5's are like, but let me tell you, 2's and 3's were PLENTY of "rapid" enough for me, at least at my relative level of inexperience. By the time we pulled over to the riverbank for lunch, I was ready for a break. The guides actually took care of all the cooking chores, so all we had to do was unzip our wet suits slightly, and lounge around, congratulating ourselves for not drowning that morning. Of course there were several jokes about our boat people "not knowing which way was downstream", but it was all good natured ribbing, so I resisted the temptation to throw them into the river :-)

The rest of the day was spent paddling down through the lower portion of the river, in which 2 of the other boats got stuck on rocks at different times, filled partially with water that need to be bailed out, and nearly turned their boats over, and 2 people from the third boat actually did fall into the river (quickly pulled out). I noticed something funny..... nobody was making jokes about our "backwards boat" when we stopped for dinner..... hummmmmm, I wonder why? At least our boat was relatively dry (hehehehehe).

While the guides cooked dinner, I pitched my tent in a clear sandy area. Man, I love modern tents. When I was a kid in the Boy Scouts, those tents took a long time to put up. now they pop up in a few minutes. I was all set up way before the dinner bell rang. After dinner, we built this huge bonfire from the ton of driftwood on the shoreline, and spent a good part of the evening telling jokes and stories and getting really really....... really drunk. I brought a bunch of beer, and my "Patron Silver" tequila to share, and I drank from other peoples sharing's until I don't even remember going to my tent. Whew!

The next morning, when we woke up (surprisingly, no hangover), the guides cooked us breakfast, and we took our time breaking camp. The only thing I wished, is that we had done the three day, and then after breakfast we would have gone back onto the river for a 2nd day of rafting. Oh well, next time. I hear that the last couple of weeks in March is the best time, because then the water is higher, and the 1's and 2's become 2's and 3's, and the 2's and 3's become 3's and 4's. Hey.... something to look forward to for next year..... RIGHT? :-)

My Datanet
My Datanet