Dad, Rafting, and Me - My Family Travels

Every time dad called me and invited me to go somewhere, it was special for me. I did not get to see father very often because my parents divorced and he moved to another city. Also, dad’s job included lots of traveling which kept him away from me. So, when he asked me if I wanted to go camping, of course I jumped at the chance to spend three entire days with him! He told me that this trip would be much more than just our traditional father-daughter trips; this trip would involve white-water rafting.

When we arrived to the river, adults had already started filling the rubber boats with air, while their children were playing nearby. I was fourteen at that time, and felt that I should be with the adults, so I tried to help my dad with the boat. Several hours later, everything was ready and the journey began.

I had never done river rafting before, so I asked my dad to let me raft. In half an hour I was done: it took too much effort for me and I realized how much skill I lacked!

There was another family in the same boat with us: my dad’s best friends and their daughters. They told us lots of funny stories and were just nice people to hang out with. We spent the whole day on the boat and in the evening we went ashore to find that other rafters were waiting for us. Later on, all the campers were eating borsch, a beetroot soup popular in Baltic countries. It had been cooked on a campfire. For dad and me, there was nothing more delicious than food prepared on a campfire.

Next morning we continued our journey. It was a very bright day with endless blue skies. I could clearly see the natural beauty of our country. I still remember how the trees’ reflection was a part of the water and seemed to double the expanse of green. Green and blue everywhere! Dad guided from the back. That’s how I remember that day!

Just before sunset we arrived to our next sleeping point. A fire was made already and just as the night before, we ate delicious food. One girl from our group stepped forward and sang for us with her angelic voice filling our evening with joy and awe.

The last day of the camping was the most eventful. First we came across an abandoned decaying bridge with sharp fragments of metal protruding out that threatened our safety. Fortunately, the rafters were able to navigate past the sharp menaces, avoiding damage and injury.  Later we found ourselves on a cleared landing filled with totems carved with faces of ancient Russian gods. 

Other people not from our group were already there. They invited us to their fire and gave us some food. I realized just how nice our fellow countrymen can be. After an hour, we said our goodbyes and continued the journey. It wasn’t long after that we found our next campsite, our final destination.

The next day we returned to the city. As I hugged him and kissed him goodbye and wished him well until our next trip, I let him know how grateful I was that he had included me on that trip. Neither of us knew that the rafting trip would be our last big adventure. My father has since unexpectedly passed. There will not be anymore father-daughter trips, just memories of our travels up a river, on that raft on sunny Russian days. That makes me smile and happy.

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