‘This is called The Surprise; it is the most dangerous rapid in the New River. It is a Class 4.’ Those were the last words I remember hearing before I got back in my ducky and started heading for the rapids. You see, a few summers ago I went to West Virginia for a six day adventure camp in the New River.
I went with thirteen other 10th graders and two adults from the Allen Park Presbyterian Church. We arrived in West Virginia and learned that we were going to be going white water rafting! As our group leader was going over all of the precautions all I could think about was getting hurt or even dieing. I was extremely scared and the group leader came over and talked to me about facing my fears.
Throughout this trip I learned that living your life in the corner gets you know where and you should not live your life with regrets. It seemed like hours until we finally took that first step into the freezing cold water and hopped into our individual duckies. The first time I felt my paddle glide across the calm water I got a chill up my back to my neck.
‘Are those rapids difficult to get through?’ I asked as we were half way to the first rapid. My group leader said, ‘You willjust have to wait and see.’ He said this with a smile from ear to ear which did not help at all. As we approached the first rapid it felt like my heart was going to explode.
I looked up and saw the snowy white water jumping up over the rocks and smashing back down on top of them. I kept getting closer and closer until I was at the top of the rapid. I bravely paddled my way through the water; waves smashing against my ducky.
My heart was still pounding, as my ducky moved from side to side and up and down, when unexpectedly everything stopped. I was in calm water and had made it through my first rapid. I looked back and smiled as I saw people being thrown off their own duckies and landing in the ice cold water.
We kept moving, arms tired from the endless paddling. The rapids got bigger as we went on and somehow I made it through all of them. After lunch we went through another small rapid and I thought I had made it through the whole day.
Boy, I was so wrong. I heard the words ‘Okay, this rapid coming up is the biggest, most dangerous one you’ll see on this trip.’ I thought that I had made it past my fear but once I heard those words I knew that I had not. I did not want to go through with it but I knew that I would regret it.Soon I was in the rapid, following my best friend as she led the way.
Suddenly a huge wave came up and smashed down right in front of me. My ducky hit the end of the wave. I was thrown into the fast moving ice cold water. To me it seemed like everything was moving in slow motion. The first thing that came to mind was to get my feet up, but after that all I could think about was not drowning. I kept pushing the ducky off with allmy strength and finally got out from under it. I swam to calm water and took the biggest breath I had ever taken.
After everyone was back in their own duckies and feeling safe we all laughed it off. Thankfully no one got hurt from The Surprise. The day went on and all I could think about was how thankful I was to be alive. I had also realized that I had gotten over my fear. I knew that if I hadn’t gone through with it I would have never gotten over my fear of getting hurt or dieing. I learned that even though I may be scared there is still no reason not to try something. Even to this day, whenever I think about my trip in West Virginia, I look back at it and smile because the experience taught me not to live my life with regrets and fears and just to go out there and live it up!
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.