Expect the Unexpected - My Family Travels
Dan River
Dan River

Three years ago, my family and I went on an extraordinary tubing experience down the Dan River.  Thinking this memorable day trip would be a refreshing and relaxing vacation, it turned into an exhausting and frantic day. 

Arriving at the Dan River Campground, my family took a ten minute bus ride to our access point.  As we walked toward the river, there were no other adventurers in sight.  We successfully plopped onto our individual tubes into freezing, murky water and our adventure began.  The trip time varied from 2-4 hours depending on how rapid the river currents were.  In our case, there was virtually no current to speak of, therefore, each of us had to paddle using our arms to move down river.  From time to time we had to maneuver around boulders, fallen trees, deteriorating bridge supports and small rapids.

What started out as being a beautiful, sunny day, suddenly turned ominous in which we could hear peels of thunder off in the distance.  Even though the weather was suppose to be a clear Carolina day, it started to rain.  The onset of fear gripped  all of us, as an abundance of lighting drew nearer. The light rain turned into torrential downpour in no time at all.  Looking around and seeing nothing but steep banks, the sense of urgency overcame us as we were trapped on the river with no way to get off.

Fortunately, there was a small sandy island a short distance ahead.  One by one we paddled our tubes onto the unfamiliar beach.  We felt like we were on Gilligan's Island as we hunted for shelter.  By now the rain was pelting us, as we huddled together shivering trying to stay warm.  As the rain abated, we left the island and continued downstream.

Twenty minutes later, my brother spotted the take out point off in the distance.  He paddled towards the shore fighting the now swift current.  In an awesome display of chivalry, he waded back into the strong current and caught each of our tubes before we were swept past.

As we climbed up the river bank, soaking wet and chilled to the bone, our vehicle was waiting for us.  As we grabbed our dry clothes, the river manager approached us being concerned for our families safety since it took over six hours to complete our trip.  My father assured the river manager that we were all fine and shared the events that occurred that day.

Through this experience I learned that no matter what our plans were,  there is always unforeseen twists that will change expectations.  It's good to have a mindset of always making the best of a situation, no matter what.

To this day, we will be forever reminded of our adventure and burst out laughing and fondly remember our family adventure.  

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