The Cache Creek rafting trip this year was fantastic. I got to hang out with friends, got to meet new people, see rafters from previous years, and get wet. Recently I've gotten really nervous in advance of rafting trips where I'm sure I'm going to die - and this is not the way I want to go. But I sit my ass in the boat and I'm perfectly comfortable. It's strange and the yo-yo of emotions from "this isn't a good idea, you should feel sick about it" to "wow, this is an awesome way to spend time with friends and nature and look! I can steer this raft!" keeps me a little off keel. Next time, I'm going to try and prevent the psych-out so the sum total of emotion over the trip is more positive. (Despite all my readings that it's the boundary conditions of the trip that set your memories and feelings of it.)
My reasons not to be afraid:
- I'm pretty comfortable in water.
- I can swim, well.
- I wear my lifejacket religiously.
- I can steer a small boat reasonably well and these 2-man kayaks are inflatable.
- My friend in front is a strong and competent boater as well .
- And this river is mild enough to do a lot of it drunk and backward. So we do.
There was no shortage of intoxication this year. The question came up on sunday morning if 10:30 AM was too early for a second beer... My personal level was a sustained buzz for most of the day with a bit of a crash around dinner time, making the whole day really quite pleasant. It turns out I yell (whoops and hollers yelling) when I'm well lubricated.
The trip was also great because the water was high enough to make it more fun. Last year was spent getting an ab workout scootching over various rocky shallows. This year there was more bobbing and flying over big water waves. The weather was lovely. Quite warm, but not freakishly hot - exactly a good temperature to be in the water. The water was chilly when we first got in, but not cold and for any part after the first 10 seconds felt great. We spent most of the weekend wet. I packed very little but took everything I needed. Someone else came with 100 cans of beer and was good about sharing... I think even the guy who split his head open on a tree branch had a great time. (I'm pretty sure that was our only scary injury, and he got it messing around in a tough rapid and still insists he "won" whatever bogus contest he and his boatmate were messing around with...) It think the age range for our 40 person group (not all of whom I met) was 21 to 51 or so. Mostly I hung out with a core group of 10 or 14 people who stuck together, when possible, down the river, shooting water at each other and sharing beverages.
Anyhow, I wish I hadn't spent all that energy making myself sick with worry beforehand because the trip was good, good fun. It was lovely to be away with friends, even with the 800 mile round trip drive with some portions of heavy traffic. (It's a beautiful drive, for what that's worth.) Maybe I'll see you there next year?!?