I've always wanted to white water raft but never had the chance. The experience was phenomenal!
It was a long 2 hours drive up to the rafting centre - I was well prepared with ginger pills for my motion sickness. We made pre-bookings and opted for a guide to take us on the tour which I strongly recommend especially if you are a first timer or novice because the guide will tell you what to do - back-paddle or front-paddle, to sit down inside the raft or to lean to the right. And, he knows which are the rougher and unsafe parts of the river and whether it's safe to push people over etc. So it was a safe ride.
The weather might be sunny, in fact, it was really hot and we were slathering on layers of sunblock lotion, BUT, the water is bone-chilling cold. When I say bone-chilling, it is COLD. We were recommended to wear wet-suits which we were provided for, I felt silly wearing one because mine was an overall style and I looked like a friggin' toddler in it! But it sure saved me from freezing when the water splashes over. Actually, that wasn't enough as I was shivering and shaking on the raft so the guide got a water jacket for me.
The actual rafting is takes place over 4-5 hours but you don't row continously. Most of the time, you just sit and let the raft drift down the river and the guide will tell you when to paddle.
My aim was not to fall out of the raft as the water was freezing cold and in certain areas, if you fall out, you might land up beneath the boat and we were briefed on how to get out, but eeps, it sounded daunting. Loads of safety rules were given which were good for example, when you are in the water, never float on your belly with your head facing forward as you might land up bumping into a rock and get a cracked skull. Swimmers position - feet pointing downwards and forward, head upwards. And life jackets are a must at all times. We were told of stories where people thought they were strong swimmers and didn't need one and landed up getting swept away by the under currents and drowned.
At one area, we all jumped off the rock and swam a little bit but just for a few minutes as it was freezing even with the wetsuits. At another point, we positioned ourselves in lying position and allowed the fast waters to push us along and we went down a 'slide-like' tunnel. Whoooshhh!
Not all things were pleasant for me though. At rapids level 4, we were thrown around and I was clutching onto the sides. I accidentally hit my right temple (thankfully it missed my eye!) with the t-bar of the paddle. I was stunned for a minute and didn't grip on tightly to the paddle so the strong currents threw it over and out of the raft and I watched in dismay as the bright blue and yellow paddle disappeared into the white waters. I kept shouting, MY PADDLE!!
Everyone was concerned about my knock as they said my face was rather pale. I was perfectly fine - it's just still bumpy and painful to the touch. I didn't have to paddle for the rest of the trip (last quarter) and I felt so bad for not helping. I sat at the bow of the raft and clung onto the rope as we rafted through the rapids and that was fun but friggin' cold!
The second incident was when the guide suddenly exclaimed that he heard a rattlesnake as we were walking towards the other side to swim. He threw a thick stick into the bushes and thereafter, I was hopping around nervously. We didn't bump into the rattlesnake but gawd I met one later.
We were washing the sand out of our shoes in the water. I was standing, barefooted, in the water when P shouted out, There's a snake. C, was sitting on the rock and saying it was just a joke. But I knew it wasn't and started to panic and tried to jump out of the water but kept slipping because of the slippery stones. Then the guide said, Oh yes, there's a snake in the water!. That's when I completely flipped. My friends grabbed me and pulled me onto shore but I was already shaking and in tears. The snake refused to swim away and instead perched its head on the rock behind the one that C was sitting on. C was now screaming, still sitting, butt down on the rock and shaking her legs in the air. On hindsight, it was hilarious.
After rafting for about 2 hours, we stopped for lunch which was great and tried to sun out our soaked clothes. We stuffed ourselves before heading out for part two. There were 7 of us in total and we each paid USD$65 which included the fantastic home-cooked lunch of BBQ burgers, pasta, potato salad and the bestest chocolate cookies that were slightly cripsy on the outside and edges but chewy on the inside with huge chunks of melted chips. It was totally worth it and I am so glad that I signed up for it!
I had so much fun that I reckon that I would do it again. For those that plan to, I recommend wearing a bikini bottom, board shorts, a racer back sports bra top (bikini tops are not advised as it will likely shift during the sessions), a water repellent jacket AND request for wetsuits!
Deschute River Adventures
+1 (503) 723 8464
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