I went for a white water rafting trip on Sunday with a bunch of CMU students, and it was soo much fun. We were around 80 people in our morning group, and 7 of us were in one raft - Dan, Beena, Sivaraman, Ali, Ravi, Harsha, and me.
The trip started on a very scary note when Ali fell in the water right at the very start, and thanks to the flow of the water and our own inexperience at controlling the raft, we couldn't stop our raft, and Ali was floating in the water for almost 3-5 minutes before he was rescued by some other boat. Beena fell in a couple of times as well, and on our first major rapid, we got stuck on a rock ! We bounced around on the raft, trying to dislodge ourselves, and when we finally managed, the guide on top of the rock felt we didn't have enough control, so asked us to just sit in the center of the boat and not navigate the rapid at all. We got better though, and soon did our first rapid without losing anybody or getting stuck !
The fun began right after lunch though, when at the biggest rapid of them all, we got stuck (again!) on a BIG rock, and this time we had to either manage to get ourselves to go against the strong current of the water, and go down and hit many more rocks and potentially hurt ourselves badly. Eventually, we figured that the water was only till about waist level, and in spite of the gushing currents, we could get out, and drag our boat back against the current. We tried. And we didn't lose our boat :) But that was all. Just when I thought we would manage it ourselves, the rafting dudes came and helped us get back our raft, and that was the end of our heroic efforts :P
After that debacle, we managed to navigate one rapid really well, and to commemorate that, the kayak people who were supposed to be leading us suggested that we jump into the calm water. We had life jackets on, so there was no danger of sinking, or so he said. I thought I would never fall in the water, cause I would always play it safe, and this is a safe opportunity to create a memory and I jumped. The water was cold, and deep, and I kept freaking out that the life jacket is not strong enough, so I kept thrashing about incessantly. I wanted to get back on the raft, but it turns out that getting back is not that easy :P, and I ended up being dragged up into the raft by Dan (who was the only one who could climb back without help), but I got a cut on my lip for that :(
And at the very next rapid, we got stuck for a second, and I had a 5 foot fall into the water !! Very scary stuff ! I hit the water, come back out, only to see the raft swoosh by my head, merely a couple of inches away... I just started getting thankful that it didn't hit me when I saw another raft coming my way, and then another ! After 3 lucky misses, I realized I needed to start floating ! I had to float for a couple of minutes in the rapid, feeling those rocks hit my back, and trying to "relax, and keep my feet and head out of the water", till I eventually caught up with the raft, and was pulled back up by Dan.
And at the next rapid, we got stuck some more, and this time, we all got off to push the boat, except that I got stuck holding onto the boat, while it floated towards me. I had to hold on for dear life, cause if I had let go, I would have been pushed into the water, under the boat (and did I mention it was very shallow water , and being under the raft would have meant hitting many many many rocks really hard?) After a couple of minutes, I was again dragged into the raft again, and I decided to play it oh-so-safe from now on.
Turned out that was the end of the rafting trip, and I didn't have to play so-safe after all :) It was soo much awesome fun - the adrenaline, the screaming, and shouting and rowing and falling, and dragging. Too much !
To end the exciting day, I added some more excitement to my life, by forgetting my phone on the bus. And the next day, I had to make 50 calls, and then Sivaraman and I had to go all the way to South Side to get it back. End of excitement :) For the day.