Outdoors Unlimited. And this one turned out to be family day. Luckily, I'd finally found my mojo on the river by then and was willing to face the rapids head on. Without ducking.
Up to that point, I was only halfway there. I still feared the big ones. Thankfully, because the river level was high during the two weeks plus we spent on the Colorado, we weren't really facing "big ones." Even the Big Kahuna of rapids in the 280 miles we'd float, the one called Lava Falls, just wasn't that horrendous. Of course, our guides fought them mightily anyway. Just in case. The rapids were still bubbly enough to pull you in, flip you over, and send you slamming into deep schist if you didn't hold on tight enough. Trust me, I held on. And those gloves I'm wearing have the rips and broken seams to prove it.
The strength of our guides (I've never seen bigger muscles underneath someone's forearms before) is the very reason you see that big smile on my face. They pushed and pulled us through high-rated rapids and drops of 30 feet, more and less, as if we were simply part of a parade. They made it look easy. And because we were smart enough to raft the entire length of the Grand Canyon, the time allowed them to ease in the chickens like me. The rapids got rougher as we made our way down river. So that, even though I was scared out of my mind at first, by the time we reached the rapids that required scouting, I was feeling secure enough when that rush of water came barreling down on heads, neck and feet. Even when it knocked me up off the raft, by then, I knew my hold on the ropes would keep me safe and dunk-free. I'd had enough experience behind me to see for myself. Yeah, the death grip really works. So I held on. Good and tight.
What a trip! You can expect to see more photos like this one in the days ahead. This one, by the way, was taken by Rebecca Albrecht. She was part of the "family" tour I was on for this 15-day excursion. I add those quote marks, because I'm not the actual family member. I am the girlfriend of the boyfriend who couldn't go. And the boyfriend is the family member. I was the fifth-wheel. But they let me play anyway, and I have never had so much fun before in my life.
So let me send props to the raft, family and jazz hands. All three made this a trip filled with more joy than sand on the beach. And let me tell you, there's a lot of sand on the shore of the Colorado. I should know, since I brought extra home with me--in my shoes, my socks, my hair, my ears, my clothes...
Can you tell me about a time you spent with family that left you reeling in laughter-filled memories long past the event? Post it in a comment below. Or just share your thoughts about what it would take for you to give yourself two weeks of carefree fun.