Adventure vs. Disaster

April 6th, 2011 5:58pm

I just got back from a rafting trip down the Colorado River, through the Grand Canyon.  This was my third trip and, as always, there were some great surprises.  The first time everything was new; the second time, it was still "new" but not unexpected.  This time, the adventure was completely unexpected.

The first week was full of inclement weather - it rained and was SUPER windy.  It damned near blew us back up river it was so windy.  The rain was a pain too!  There's a saying that rain only sucks until you're wet.  That's not entirely true - rain sucks until you're wet then it reinforces the suckiness.  We finally made it to Phantom Ranch to swap 8 for 8.  What this means is that 8 of our original group hiked up while 8 new people hiked down to join us.

THEN, the adventure began!  That first day went smoothly - we made our way to Granite camp (which is pretty much always available) and were able to get the newbies orientated.  The next day, not 3 miles into the river, we got to Hermit rapid.  Hermit is rated an VIII on the "Colorado scale".  The normal rating scale is a I-V, but because of the variabliity of the Colorado, they rate things from I-X.  Anyway, Hermit is an VIII.  This is a big rapid with a long train of hydrolics.  The last of them is known to flip large boats in flows of 17,000+.  We were floating at 19,000.

To make a long story short we surmised that the only safe route was to ride the train and hope the last hydrolic didn't grow too big.

I hit it perfectly and rode all of the swells until the last one - somehow it decided to double it's size JUST as I got there, flipping our 18' boat the long way!  The boat came down on top of me and pushed me into the water.  When I came up the water was so turbulent that it was far calmer to be under, so that's what I did.  I submerged as best I could until we were out of the big water.

Anyway, the rest, as they say, is history.  We righted the boat and continued on with our adventure.  I have another saying - the difference between an adventure and a disaster is that you come home from a disaster.

I slept pretty well once home.


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