Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

White Water Rafting Adventures

We went for dinner last night and they had a special wine, which Mum ordered. Well the waitress (who had a great NZ accent) came back and rather sheepishly said they were out. Mum naturally questioned this, how can you be out of the special? Esp as it was reasonably early in the eve. She thinks about it for half a second and then says "This is me being honest with you. They're not really out, what actually happened is they lost the key to the fridge where the special wine is." hahaha which I thought was just too funny -- but way better than simply being out. Apparently not all the wine is kept in the same fridge though as Mum was able to have a glass of something less-special. But the story amused me regardless :)

Today we drove to BC to go white water rafting on the Kicking Horse River. On the way we stopped at a couple lookouts - one of which was the Spiral Tunnels. Here trains can actually loop back over themselves. And when we got there, there was a train! hahaha and the longest train I've ever seen. Even for somebody who generally
couldn't care less about such things, it was very kewl. With the way it moves the track seems to be going in two directions at the same time. One place I stood I could see it seemingly on three tracks at once. The illusion is completed because you can't (or at least I couldn't from where I was standing) see where it loops back so it
seems to be separate trains on separate tracks. I videoed a bit, but I'm not sure it'll come through. We'll see...

So then we continued to the white water place. Was quite small. A group of guys were playing volleyball; behind their court was a storage area and change rooms. Beside them was the registration hut (with a BBQ being prepared behind it) and off to the side a shed with rafting equipment. And that's about it. We made our way the registration area and signed our lives away (I'm amazed at how often I do that :). They fed us lunch -- buffalo cheese burgers, macaroni salad, potato salad, chocolate brownies, and nanimo bars. Yummy. Enough food to sink a boat. Hmmmmm. Perhaps not the *best* plan.

Lunch was followed by the somewhat entertaining safety briefing and paddling instructions before we were all outfitted in the oh-so-attractive wetsuits, booties, life jackets and helmets. Why the suits and booties? Well despite the perfect sunny 30deg weather (ummm that'd be 86 for those of you in Ferenheit land), the glacial water was all of 3-5 deg (approx 40F). Cold. N the booties made a HUGE difference (says she who had taken off her sandles and walked in earlier. Brrrr).

So they had us divide into groups. The largest had 8 people in it -- our group had 4. I was expecting them to redivide us, but the big group all wanted to be together so they left it alone. We were with Mark and Natalie -- a couple on vacation from Edmonton. They were kewl which made the trip even better (nothing worse than being stuck in a raft with somebody truly obnoxious -- I experienced that on one of my Ottawa trips. Boooo). Our guide came and introduced herself - Laralyn. She was super friendly and overly competent *g* We posed for a couple photos and headed for the boats.

Once there there was another quick safety and instruction review and we were off!!! There were category 1 rapids the whole way which roughly translated means just enough movement to keep the boat coasting so next to no paddling required. Sweet. A huge plus compared to my previous white water experiences. hahaha

So we start with a couple cat 2 rapids so we can get used to the concept and how to sit, paddle etc. To put this in perspective, these are not likely to get anybody wet. It might *just* splash over the edge of the boat but that's about it. We practiced a few strokes and chatted for a bit and then time for the first 3. There was another quick safety review and off we go! So much fun!!! A whole series of 3s and 4s. Seriously sooooooo much fun (so much so that my usually reasonable vocabulary is unequal to the task. Extra ooooos will have to make the point for me :) For some of them our guide had all four of us sit in the very front section. Awesome. hahaha And
of course the most phenominal scenery anywhere.

At one point my contacts got washed back after I got a face full of river wave, and so the world was very blurry for a few bumps -- but then when they slid back into place, they'd been cleaned and moisturized and the world was instantly much clearer. A little disconcerting admittedly, but very kewl.

Note - I'm the one under water!

Lots of rapids. Lots of up and down and splashing. Tons o fun! At the end we could hop in a float along. Which was fun except... Remember the 4 deg water? hahaha yeah. It was a short swim *g*.

Get back, change, purchase some photos, and head home.

Rafting has kind the same psyc effect as riding. Just when every instinct says STOP is when you have to go forward. Horse is bucking, instinct is to stop -- and then the horse bucks higher and stronger. If instead you ride forward, the bucking goes away.
Likewise, plummeting down a wall of water, instinct is to stop and hold on to something -- but then you won't get up the other side! Instead you have to paddle for all you're worth! And like with XC, you finish the run with the biggest grin on your face. hahaha

Driving through the pass was pretty impressive. I can't get my head around how the first person did it. A - found it, and B - remembered/recorded it well enough to be replicated! (think pre-gps people :) The highway is gorgeous - a great drive - but I'm picturing that fully treed with no trail. Mostly (I assume) trying to follow the
river. Couldn't've been an easy trip.

Anyways - I sort of expected my shoulders to be sore from that, but it's my legs that are feeling it. The position way up in the front took far more strength than when you're in the normal spot in the boat, and I'm feeling it now. Night!


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