An Almost Near-Death Experience

River-raftingMost everyone loves summer activities.  One that was always on my bucket- list was river rafting.  I had done this activity several times before, one being down the Colorado River.  It was a glorious sunny, warm day.  The falls were doable and we had a great time.  As it turned out our guide was a girl we knew from Beaver Dam.  It is a small world.

Then several years later I was invited to go with a bunch of women on a river rafting outing in Northern Wisconsin.  If I remember right this was in the latter part of April.  I was told this had been done before by these women and was usually warm and glorious.  Well, this particular day it was overcast, very cloudy, and very very cold.  Being very optimistic that the weather would certainly improve we carried on with our adventure.  We were told when we got to our destination that the river was very shallow.  Well, that was an understatement.  We were each put in our individual raft and proceeded down the river.  This was a very slow process as boulders were sticking up in the river and we constantly got our rafts caught on them.  You had to put your leg out in the water to push off and continue.  Then the unbelievable thing happened – it started to snow.  So much for getting an early spring tan this trip.

river raftingThe next year we again were asked to join the river rafting group.  Of course, having such a wonderful experience the last time I said “of course”.  I figured it had to be a better experience than the last time.

Well, the day started like the last time, cloudy and very, very cold.  Now, we were told the river was very high.  We were assigned six to a raft with a guide on the back.  We had on helmets, life jackets as well as wetsuits.  At the very first falls, we were told it was at a number five.  I guess that is really high.  We proceeded to paddle as instructed.  In approaching the falls I tucked my feet under the seat of my daughter who was seated in front of me.  Well, when we came to the falls the raft proceeded to go over, its front being in mid-air, my feet lost their hold, and as the guide said, “you all barely went over the side”.  My daughter, Lisa, said, “Is that like saying you are barely pregnant?”    The three of us who were on the left side of the raft, including me, of course, went over the side.  I was on top of the falls.  Went somersaulting down.  When I got to the bottom, I was underwater.  Struggling to get air and find the top, I had to remind myself to relax and I would float to the top.  We were told to immediately swim to the side of the river and we would be helped out.  I found a rock, couldn’t breathe, a strange noise coming from my lungs, and couldn’t move.  I was told that I had the worst look of fear on my face and I am sure I did.  I honestly was terrified.  Thinking back I can’t imagine that I made it out alive.  Imagine tumbling down a waterfall amongst rocks bouncing you all over, and the momentum of the water throwing you all around underwater.  

After getting out of the water we trucked off to our motel.  I also fell on the way as I was so weak from my near-death experience.  Our hearts went out to a group of boy scouts that were tent camping along the river.  We were so grateful that a hot tub was waiting for us.  

Well, that took care of my river-rafting desire.  So, on to the next stupid bucket list event!

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