I went white water rafting on Saturday. I am not a big fan of water sports because I have never been that great of a swimmer so I was pretty nervous to go on this trip. I am involved in the intern program at my company so I was the one chosen to lead the white water rafting trip. I thought it would be a good opportunity to face my fear. I was so terrified I would fall in the rapids but everyone assured me that very few people ever fall out unless they want to.
We met at work at 7:00am. Let me tell you how excited I was to be at work at 7:00am on a Saturday. I was not. at all. happy. We took a charter bus that was pretty nice. There were about 15 of us on the bus so it wasn't crowded at all. It was a 3 hour drive before we got to the rafting place. We arrived around 11:15 (we changed time zones) and had an hour until we had to meet our guide. We all had lunch and talked. Our interns are pretty cool and lunch was enjoyable. I was still really nervous so that means I was sick to my stomach (of course!) so I had to force myself to eat.
At 12:15 we met the rest of the group going with us and listened to the whole safety spiel. They told us that if we fell in the water to remember "nose and toes." Basically, you were supposed to keep your feet out of the water so that you couldn't get stuck in any of the rocks on the bottom. They also told us if we got stuck in the hydraulics to ball up until we were flung out. After the safety talks I was even more scared but it was too late to back out.
We all packed into a school bus to head to the river. It was so incredibly crowded that day. Our guide told us there were 500 people that were rafting the river on that one day. When we got to the river we picked our rafts and learned how to paddle and all the commands our guide would be giving us. JJ and I sat in the front (which was stupid) and practiced paddling. Then we got in the water.
The first rapid was called "the grumpies" because if you fell out it would suck and you would be grumpy. After going over the first rapid I started to relax. I was having a blast! We were all cheering and laughing. It was such a rush and all my fear had left me. After going over a few more rapids I looked up and realized our raft was heading toward another raft. I didn't even realize how hard we were going to hit them and once I did it was too late. We slammed into the raft and I toppled over the side into the freezing cold water. The water was moving a lot faster than it looked and I started to get swept away. A guy in another boat reached his paddle out to me and I managed to grab onto it. A guide jumped in the water and grabbed me. He told me it was ok and to put my feet down. I was trying so hard to gain my footing but I kept slipping because the water was going so fast. I grabbed onto him to try to pull myself up and I completely grabbed his balls. I mean, I just gripped down right on his berries. He yelled, "Careful where you are grabbing, sweetie! That will cost you extra!" Everyone around us (there were about 8 other rafts sitting there at the time) started laughing. I was humiliated. He told me to start walked to my raft and I was really struggling. A few of the interns were yelling at me to turn around so they could take pictures of me in the water. I was not amused. I finally made it to the raft and JJ pulled me back into the boat. I was shaking and completely embarrassed.
We continued on and I was still not that scared. I figured the only reason I fell out was because we hit that other boat and it wouldn't happen again. I relaxed and was really starting to enjoy myself again. A few minutes later as we were going over some rapids I fell out AGAIN. I don't even really remember what happened. One second I was in the boat and the next I was in the water. I somehow managed to grab onto the raft before I was swept away. The water was going so fast and I was so scared. JJ managed to grab me again and pull me back in. It was at that point that I stopped enjoying myself. I was banged up and my ankle was swollen because I had hit some rocks when I was in the water. I spent the rest of the trip tense and terrified to fall in again. No one else fell into the water and I did TWICE. It makes for a great story now because everyone finds it hilarious (and I do too now that it's all over) so that is pretty cool. I am really proud of myself for facing my fears but I have to say that white water rafting is not really my cup of tea.