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My most memorable vacation was taken when I was age fifteen and involved in girl scouts. Camp Fox Tail offered a wide variety of different camp activities for all ages of girl scouts. I decided to take a two week adventure rafting down the Colorado River. I was terrified to go on this trip because I was very shy at that age and did not know any other participants. In addition, I had never been away from my family for more than one night.
During the first week, the fifteen girls stayed in small cabins, three girls to a cabin. We all learned to go to the bathroom in an outhouse and shower with others every day. There was no privacy. It took several days to become comfortable with those living conditions because it was so different from living at home. Each day, the counselors encouraged us to try different activities so the girls would get to know each other.
To start the second week, we were taken to a tiny airport where we boarded tiny planes to take us to the Colorado River. We had to bring everything we need to survive for a week on the river. Once we arrived, we had to carry all our supplies on a long hike to the bottom of the canyon to get to the river. There, we met our guides, who taught us how to be safe on the water. After passing the water safety test, the adventure continued.
For the next six days, we would get in large rubber rafts and float down the river. Sometimes the water was slow and peaceful and sometimes the water rushed and splashed through many different types of rapids. A class one rapid was relatively safe with rocks under the water making waves and quick flowing currents. A class six sapid was potentially dangerous with waterfalls, exposed rocks, and very fast moving water.
I experienced fear going down a class six rapid in a small inflatable canoe with one other girl. We had to paddle hard and concentrate on avoiding the large rocks while staying in the mainstream of the water. Everyone else was shouting encouragement to us as we zoomed along. We did not overturn the small canoe. We managed to make it through safely. Both of us were scared at first, but were relaxed and relieved after making it out. It was so exciting then! I wanted to do it again and again, to feel the excitement, over and over. It was wonderful!
For each of the six nights, we would camp out on a sandy beach and sleep in small tents. The food was prepared by our guides. We had to learn to sleep on the ground and go to the bathroom in a bucket.
This trip was the most exciting experience I had ever had. I learned to eat, sleep, and depend on strangers. I learned to exist without a shower and face danger. This trip taught me that I could have fun no matter what I did, as long as I made each situation better. I loved the rushing water. Since that experience until now, I rafted every summer and learned to swim, joined a competitive swim team, and became a lifeguard. It changed my life forever.