On family vacations, Seventeen-year-old girls are usually only concerned about getting from point A to point B at the speed of light. Unfortunately, the speed limit was 45 mph, and on some mountains, it was only 15 mph. Personally, I was just happy to be a couple of states from home in Colorado. With my cell phone as my lifeline, my inner rebellious teenager wasn’t considering my parents as my first choice travel companions. I assumed I was about to face a boring, dull, ordinary, and hopefully quick trip. After the packed week that I vacationed in Colorado, my most vivid memory is that first day on the river.
Our first stop was in Durango. With my Dad in charge of the planning, I could only image what surprises he had planned. He told me that we were going river rafting and I admit I was nervous.
Our guides were two young college women so I was pretty certain this was going to be a leisurely ride down a slow river. Once we arrived at the river, they started explaining instructions for a few verbal commands. Unfortunately, I was sidetracked by the fact that they tightened my life vest so tight that I could hardly breathe. I asked them why it was necessary that my lifejacket be so unyielding and they said it needed to be so that when they pulled us back into the boat, it would not cut off my air supply. WHEN they pull me back into the boat? The water was FREEZING! Just putting my foot in the water was torture and I was sure that my bikini wouldn’t help much. This new update about my pending inevitable swim was not promising. While dreaming about the Texas heat that I left behind, I reluctantly settled myself in the boat.
The first few minutes were nice and relaxing. THEN the next 30 minutes was like a ride on an angry, vengeful bull. In retrospect, telling the guides that I loved fast paced things before we left wasn’t very smart of me. This was one of those life lessons that I learned quickly that day.
We reached a sharp curve in the river and I frightfully asked “Is that white water ahead?” I guess I overstated the obvious because they started to chuckle. The lead guide told us we had to start paddling faster if we didn’t want to flip when we hit the rapids. I never had such motivation before as that moment to paddle like my life depended on it. It had become a goal of mine to not tip the boat since my first toe hit the ice cold water.
The first few rapids weren’t too bad. But then we looked ahead and didn’t see the water anymore. The water was dipping around rocks and popping back up after the big boulders. The freezing water splashed on my feet, then my thighs froze, and then I was completely covered as we hit the first big dip. I don’t have the river rafting lingo down, but you can understand what I mean by a BIG DIP. We finally came out the other side of the white water rapids. Dripping and freezing, I found myself WIDE awake.
If THIS was the beginning of my “boring, dull, ordinary, and hopefully quick” trip, I couldn’t even imagine what my Dad’s next surprise would be. For the adventure seeker in me, it was the BEST part of my trip. I suggest it to anyone who thinks there is nothing quite like a good rush to wake them up.
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