An Interesting Adventure… Part 1

Hi everyone! Sorry, I haven’t been posting more lately. Today, I have a personal narrative I wrote about an interesting event that happened to me this summer. There are more parts to the story, so you keep your eyes peeled for more. Enjoy!

The River

A Personal Narrative

 “It’ll be fine Tess, look at the river it’s so calm and the current isn’t very strong” I told my friend pointing down toward the river from atop a cliff. “I don’t know, they said there was a waterfall on the course we were taking. “A waterfall!” responded Tess.

“They said a mini waterfall, that means like 8 feet or something.”

“8 feet?!”

“That’s not that big, for a waterfall.”

“That’s almost two me’s!”

“Everyone over here” called our rafting guide.

I was going whitewater rafting with my church group. I suppose they were taking us rafting, so the 5 hour road trip ahead of us would become the least bit tolerable. We were headed up north for a confirmation retreat.

All 32 of us kids split up into groups of 8. I was with my friends Hadley, Emery, Sydney, Tess, Gretchen, Lauren, and Ellie. Our rafting guides name was Austin, he was a marine in the army just like all the rafting guides.

Once we were all in our rafts, each of our rafting guides instructed us on basic safety rules. Emery, Lauren, and I volunteered to be the people who showed how to pull someone out of the rapids. Emery and I jumped into the currently calm water. Lauren showed everyone how to pull us out. I didn’t really like the method that the rafting guides used which was to grab our life vests and then to grab us and throw us into the boat, but I assumed it was the safest way. It hurt when you landed in the boat, enough to tear my earring out of my right ear, when Lauren threw me into the boat.

After we were done with the safety instruction we all started out on the Level 2 rapids, only about 3 – 5 feet waves.  I personally loved it, the thrill of flying up and down and being thrown from side to side on the waves. That was enough to make Tess nervous though.I could only imagine how she would handle Level 5 rapids…

As we approached the Level 5 rapids we left one of our rafting boats at the sandbar closest to the rapids. This was so that we could run the rapids twice. Tess was definitely not happy about that.

Soon, we were all ready to go. Austin was shouting encouraging words from the rear of the boat. Sydney and I were sitting in the front of the boat. The front of the boat was the most dangerous probably, because you didn’t have anywhere to put your feet, except the crevices in the side of the boat. All the other rows had a seat in front of them to stick their feet under so you wouldn’t fall out of the boat.

We started paddling toward the waterfall, which was the first part of the Level 5 rapids. We saw the boat in front of us disappear completely after it went over the waterfall. Soon it was our turn to be swept away by the current. We plummeted over the waterfall. We all screamed, some of us with excitement, others with terror. We were barely paddling, anymore. The waves swept us up and down. It was like a roller coaster on water. I had never been whitewater rafting, but I had always wanted to do it. This was better than I expected! Before, I knew it the rapids were done. Luckily, we got to do it again!

We all jumped out of the raft when we landed it at another sandbar. Even Tess had enjoyed it! We all ran up a hill to head back to the sandbar. On the way, my friends Hadley and Emery were begging Sydney and I for our spots at the front of the boat. Sydney happily gave up her spot to Hadley (who claimed it first), but I was not going to give up my front row seat of adventure … to anyone.

On the way back to the sandbar, we stopped at a cliff where we saw one of the other groups doing the Level 5 Rapids. Two kids fell out of the boat. They were pulled back into the boat right away. “It would be kind of fun if we fell out of the boat..” I said. Everyone looked at me like I was crazy… which I was. I couldn’t help but think that it would be kind of fun to fall out in the almost unrunnable rapids. “Don’t jinx it” Gretchen said to me.

When we got back to the sandbar we saw the 8th grade boys go over the waterfall for their second time. We went right after them. It was like the first time. Thrilling! Exciting! We all saw a big wave ahead of us, Austin yelled at us at the top of his lungs  “PADDLE!” Of course, nobody paddled for the wave dragged us to high in the air for us to touch the water, even if we could have touched the water with our paddles I don’t think we would have. Suddenly, we jolted forward. It sent me flipping over the front of the boat. From what I heard Emery fell off the back as well as a parent volunteer. Ellie, Gretchen, Lauren, Hadley, Tess, and Sydney fell off the sides of the boat. Only Austin remained on the boat.

As soon as I hit the water, I felt something or someone pull me deeper into the water. Probably, someone who fell on top of me. My Life Preserver thankfully dragged me up for air. I saw Lauren getting thrown into the boat by Austin, Gretchen followed, then Sydney, and so on. The 8th grade boys in front of us were laughing, of course. The rest of the kids up on the cliff were screaming. They were the only ones who noticed me getting dragged away from the boat. The yelled to me “DO SOMETHING.” What could I do? The river was in complete control. I saw Emery who was heading toward the raft to get picked up, doing all the things we were supposed to do, in case something like this happened  The position where you put your feet out in front of you, using your arms to paddle, etc. I looked at myself… I was doing nothing we were supposed to do. Ever wave that went near me sent me flying up into the air. I have to admit it was kind of fun. Though it wasn’t fun, when I hit a insanely shallow part of the river, and I got cut by a bunch of rocks.

Everyone was in the raft by now. All except me of course. My friends were yelling something at me, but I couldn’t make out what they were saying. In that moment everything was so confusing! What was happening? My head began to spin. I saw the boat with the 8th Grade Boat drifting toward me. The threw into the boat…. very painful. Of course, my boat didn’t see that I was in the raft so they were worried.

On the new boat, I didn’t have to paddle. Which was okay with me because I was exhausted. Of course, then the boys wanted to swim back to shore… so I had to go back with them. When we got to shore I noticed that one of my water shoes (that we were forced to wear) was gone. I found out later that Lauren had lost hers too! I looked at the bottom of my foot where I found two puncture marks in my foot, which are to this day still healing. I survived the adventure, which is what was important. I still wonder if there was a part of me and my sometimes too adventurous spirit that let me get dragged away from that raft….

~ Mara