The other day, I was talked into rafting down the Clackamas River. I was not really all that interested in this, for many reasons. See, the images I have of rafting are like this one. I was quite terrified of this activity, and it was only compounded, knowing that Mr. Hed wanted to take the girls along.
When he came in from saying goodbye to our friend on Sunday, who had stopped in for a quick visit, he told me of this plan, and of course, I immediately went into fear mode. He told me he wanted me to come along. I kinda laughed at him at this point, because I don't do stuff like that.
No, really. I don't.
At first, I only agreed to go out there with them, and hang with Miss Ru in the park, where they would eventually end up, should they live through the extreme sporting event.
I somehow rationalized that if I were at the park with the little one, they would not die. I have no idea where the logic actually comes into play here, but my brain works that way.
Did I mention that I was raised by two extremely lazy people, and the extent of my outdoor experience up to my early twenties consisted of playing outside in a suburban tract neighbourhood?
It has taken me a while to embrace the fact that people actually do the things they do for fun. It has taken me longer to embrace the fact that the things people do for fun, are actually fun.
So, we arrived at the park, where we met up with our friend Jason. He could tell I was kinda freaking the fuck out under my veil of hubris, which was probably so thin, blue veins of fear were visible, and pulsating; as if speaking to anyone who would listen, and get me the hell out of there.
He reassured me that this would not be bad at all, and I'd probably even have a good time if I decided to come along.
I then decided, after questioning my decision to bring my camera with
me... to take a few pictures of the people who may die on the river,
before they actually died on the river.
After that, and somewhat reluctantly, I steeled myself in the bathroom. Well, first, I went pee for the twelfth time since arriving at Jason and Brad's. Then, I gave myself a good little talk in the mirror: "Hedro, they do this all the time, and they are still here.
"You apparently drive like a maniac and endanger the lives of everyone, including yourself, in Portland, on a daily basis. You are probably not in any more danger doing this.
"You are a bad muthafucka who has been through some crazy shit, and you survived.
"White water rafting? Pshaw! You have chunks of that river's uh... floor... in your stool."
And with that, I emerged from the bathroom, and we all walked down to this so called riverbitch.
For obvious reasons, I opted to leave my camera at our friend's house. So what you see above, is the extent of what I took that day, though I had hoped to take a lot more. Yeah... it's not a great idea when you may end up SMASHED AGAINST SOME GIANT BOULDERS, as your life ends in a watery grave, to take a very expensive piece of equipment along.
My first fear surrounded the actual getting into the raft. I thought for sure I would flip it over with my gargantuan ass, and be carried off down the river to my death.
Surprisingly, the raft stayed where it needed to while everyone else got in.
I did not die then.
I rode in a raft with Jason and my girls. Mr. Hed rode with Brad in a smaller raft.
We pushed off, and started down the river. I knew it was going to take a long time, and so far, things were slow and uneventful.
It took some time before we went over our first rough spot. And we lived through the bumps, and water lapping into the raft, soaking my ass.
OK, I knew this would happen, and that was OK. Wet ass. Fine. Good, even. Sort of. I began to relax.
It was so peaceful out there, and the river was so pretty!
We stopped at one point, to swim at a swimming hole, type... area. We docked the rafts, and unboarded, one by one. What I was not prepared for here, was that the terrain at the shore, (if you could call it that,) was like some sort of bentonite clay. I seriously could have used that shit for a mask, but it made for a VERY slick setting. I may as well have been flailing on a bed of slime.
I started out of the raft, and thought my footing was anchored well enough. I was wrong. I slid right off the edge, into the cold, swift water: RIGHT WHERE I DID NOT WANT TO BE!
Jason managed to wrangle me back to shore, and this time, I did actually land. But it took me a moment to gain enough bearing to actually want to try and go back in that water.
But, well, at that point, I had a vendetta, and I was not going to let that bitch win.
So, I stood there for a few moments.
First, Jason jumped into the water.
My 9 year old was braver than I was. After her, Mr. Hed jumped in. I tried, but I was so scared I would lose my balance and come down on the back of my head against the clay of evil, instead of landing in the water, upright, that I eventually just sat down on the edge of earth, safety; all things stable and known, and slid in slowly.
I am a fucking wimp. What can I say?
But once I was in, I let the current carry me past the bend in the rocks and just beyond. I thought this was a good thing at first, but I soon realized that it was carrying me past where I wanted to end up, and quite possibly, down the river to my death, this time for real!
So, I swam as hard as I could against that current, and I made it back over to calmer waters.
It was a nice place to hang out. Once again; so peaceful, calm, and refreshing. Things were going well until a few Jersey Shore clones showed up and trashed it the hell up with their... ways. At that point, it was clear that it was time to leave.
But let's think about this for a moment: I have to wonder where the hell these people come from. I thought they really only existed on television, but apparently, I haven't lived enough or something. So really? I was getting two experiences for the price of one, that day. I should be... uh... thankful, or something.
The rest of the trip consisted of more river merriment, raft bumping, and a rollicking good time.
I can say with certainty now, that I am no longer afraid of this activity... at least in this particular setting.
We all lived, and my kids will have an actual worthwhile memory.