For Father’s Day this year, me and my sister took our Dad white water rafting at the U.S. Whitewater Center in Charlotte. It was a first for all three of us. I have a friend who has rafted the Gauley, so I knew somewhat what to expect and I KNEW it wouldn’t be as intense as his experience. To say the least, we still had an experience. LOL.
First, the rafting guides got all the noon rafters in this little covered picnic area and scared us to death. I had a lot of excitement before they started talking, then the nerves started coming in.
Rafting Guide: Look to your left and right. One of the three of you will fall out. (I look at my sister sitting to my left and then to Dad on my right. Hopes it’s them, not me) As soon as you hit the water you will forget everything I just told you. (well, that’s nice.) If you get trapped underneath the raft, (trapped under the raft? WTH?) Do not panic. (I’m trapped under water how am I not supposed to panic) Spiderman crawl up the raft. (Spiderman what?)
And so it went for over thirty minutes. Plus the worse case scenario: A capsize. Yeah, we’ll get to that later. So with new balls of nerves weighing in our stomachs we put on our gear and climb into the rafts. Right here is where the nerves diminish completely. It was funny, I had rumbling, churning nerves giving me that I’m-going-to-puke feeling that, in a matter of seconds, changed to Oh-hell-yeah-this-is-going-kick-ass.
We rowed into the middle of this pond and waited for our turn to enter the Adventure Rafting course. This course has mostly class 2 and 3 rapids. Rather relaxing really with a little bit of a thrill. We went down this course twice. We got soaked, we laughed, we were pumped.
So we headed to the Class 4 rapids. I don’t think this course has a name like the adventure rafting course. It should be called the All Hell Is Going To Break Loose course. The rapids are meaner, and angrier. There is a HUGE difference between this course and the laid back course we'd just completed. We start down this thing, being thrashed from side to side. Struggling just to remain seated. I wave at my mom and twins, who are standing on this platform watching us. We round a corner and, yep, all hell broke loose. I really have no idea what happened. One moment I was in the boat, the next I was out.
According to my mom, she watched us round the corner and then our raft shot straight up in the air with no one in it. She freaked, my daughter started crying. Mind you it wasn’t about me. She was worried for her Paw Paw. LOL.
Meanwhile, me and five other people have been tossed into the raging rapids. Capsized. Worse case scenerio. One they said rarely happened, had happened to us.
I’m completely submerged, trying to get back to the surface. I'm almost there when someone landed on top of me and pushes me back to the bottom. To add insult to injury, the raft hit me on top of the head. I finally break the surface without any obsticles, coughing up a lung. I swallowed a crap-load of water! This dude on the side of the rapids throws me a rope. I’m not stupid. I grabbed it and he hoisted me out of the water.
I had to take moment to catch my breath and control the shaking. I’m serious. I was trembling all over. It really was a scary moment. After the initial shock wore off, I looked around. My dad was clinging to a rock, my sister was bobbing up and down out of the current. One of the other dads who was in the boat with us is sitting on a rock and his two kids are across the rapids also bobbing. Our guide is trying to flip over our raft. At this moment, is when the adrenaline really kicked in. I was ready to do it again! What a rush, people! I mean it.
I have never had such a thrill in my life.
The guide instructed me to get back in the water and swim toward the raft. Yeah, that so didn’t happen. I was just swept in the opposite direction and some hunk of a man pulled me into his raft. Girls, let me tell you, the eye candy at this place is awesome!
I could talk about this experience all day long, but my parents will be here in 15 minutes. We’re taking the kids to Carowinds. My parents haven’t been in 25 years, so today should be fun! Just know this: If you haven’t gone rafting, DO IT! It is sooooo much fun! I can’t wait to do it again!