Saturday, August 6, 2011

Into the Raging Water - The Tipping Point

Day Six!!! We were halfway through the canyon. One of the two "nine" rapids was behind us and we had three days before the next, and final "nine." Surely we could relax and have a little fun. More hiking was on the agenda. (Hiking was always on the agenda...kind of like more rapids.) It was time to launch and get the fun underway.

We started out with a couple of  "five" rapids, Emerald and Ruby. Very jolly rides they were. Our only challenging ride of the day was up next, "Serpentine," rated as a seven. Should we scout this one? We usually scout rapids rated seven and above. Naw...the guide says it's a read-and-run rapid. The guide also does mention "...a large pourover on the river right near the top of the rapid. This is to be avoided." Not everyone on the trip had the guide book we were using...some guide books only had numerical ratings with no advice on obstacles in the water. Oh well. It's just a "seven."

Our raft was the third in our party to enter the rapid. Two others were ahead of us from our group. I was watching the rafts in front of us. I always had to see how wet they got on their ride. Just before we entered the rapid, the raft in front of us turned upside down. Ballerina Girl, Tom Sawyer and his parents were on that raft. It was not a good thing to see as we entered the the left of the pourover on the right.

We were desperately looking for people's heads as the water started to pull us through the rapid. I saw three right away by the upside down raft but had not idea who was missing. Scanning...there was the fourth head off a bit from the raft. Was that one of the kids? Gee..I really hoped it wasn't.

Still in the churning water. Often there were little rapids that buffered the ends of larger rapids. We had some of that to get through. Pretty soon there were people sitting on top of the bottom side of the raft. Thankfully there were four people all in view.

One of the many miraculous moments came next...a sandy beach in view on the right side of the river. A place to right the raft and check on everyone's condition...physical and mental.

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