October 1, Tony decided he was tired of me and took me whitewater rafting. Actually, the true story is that a bunch of people from his work wanted to go and he signed the two of us up. He thought it’d be something I’d be excited about, but I think I blew a hole in his bubble when I was really hesitant. Not only was I really nervous about the trip itself, but I’d be missing a day of history and literature.
It turned out I wasn’t going to miss anything really important and I ended up going. We drove to West Virginia Sunday afternoon, spent the evening with the people from his work around a campfire talking about the sky and movies, spent the night in tents, woke up 5:45 to a quick breakfast, took apart our camp, and left at 6.
We got to the river and after a quick introduction (our guides and the cameraman) and division (into different boats), we loaded into the boats. THere was heavy fog until nearly to the first Class V rapid. There are videos of the trip online…Ace Raft (we were on the marathon trip) and there are pictures of our trip specifically (but I don’t know where to find those).
The Upper Gauley was fairly uneventful. It was all fine and nothing happened that was unusual. I think the bit of excitement at the Fuzzy Box of Kittens was planned (watching the video, it seems that is the case). We lost people while we were “surfing,” which is kind of hard to explain. We even managed to lose all but one person and the guide at Fuzzy Box of Kittens. After that, I decided I wasn’t good enough at regrouping myself to fall out at one of the Class V’s (Fuzzy Box of Kittens is only a Class II).
The whole way down the Lower Gauley, I was thinking about the fact that I’d not been more together after falling out of the raft on the Upper Gauley and I knew that at the end of the trip was a Class V called Pure Screaming Hell. Of course, we had another Class V on the way there, but for some reason, that one wasn’t as intimidating. As our guide Josh was explaining what we were going to do and what dangers there were and what to avoid, I started panicking. I managed to embarrass myself in refusing to do what Josh said we were going to do (which would have likely ended up with us flipping over) and instead took the “wuss’s way out” (my words).
For the Upper Gauley, there was a boat of guides-in-training going down the rapids behind us. At the end of the Upper Gauley, all but two of the guides-in-training got out, but two of them kept the raft and came down the Lower Gauley with the rest of the trip. One of the rapids had several surf holes in the middle of it. The guide boat managed to maneuver into position ahead of our boat and went down first. They got stuck in one hole and we came down and knocked them out, and into the next hole, where they got stuck again. We knocked them out again, but we got stuck that time. Even Josh was freaking out and said to “hold on!” It was definitely an adventure, but we managed to get out alright. As far as I know, that was the only nervous thing that wasn’t planned.
Overall the trip was fun, but next year, I’m going to chicken out on the rafting. Especially since Tony wants to go on a smaller boat and all the people who went this year liked that idea. He said maybe I can come along and take pictures at Sweet’s Falls (where they eat lunch), which sounds like a good plan.