I was fighting myself. It was a physical battle. I yanked and tugged and pulled, and just like me, I wouldn’t give a single inch.
It took five minutes to slick that thing on, all black and foamy and rubbery. I sort of felt like I was wearing a baby seal. Scratch that. I felt like a baby seal. Bark, bark. See me flapping my flippers together? Feed me some fish, Jimmy.
Then I walked out of the bathroom and saw how my good friend Heather here was wearing hers.
I went back into the bathroom, unzipped the front, removed the wetsuit – which came off so much more quickly than putting it on – reversed the inside-out limbs, and commenced fighting myself again.
It went on more easily. And it actually fit much better this time. The crotch didn’t look like where my butt should be. I zipped the back shut.
By the way? It’s a kid’s size 12, so I felt like a tweener seal, hormones bubbling, about to jump into the frontier of adolescence.
Thank goodness we had those wetsuits, because kids, the water was cold.
Thirteen of us fit on the raft. For the first half of the trip, I sat in the middle, up front. I sort of was up the creek without a paddle. A few agitated waves splashed onto us, and we almost tipped a couple of times.
We floated pretty swiftly. The river chilled my feet and I folded my hands and put them between my knees whenever we weren’t against the rapids.
For the last part of the trip, I relieved a nice lady of her paddle. Paddling is fun. Paddling against rough waters is awesome. Paddling out of eddies isn’t so fun, but it’s important so that the raft doesn’t get stuck.
Sometimes counterflowing eddies form whirlpools. Sometimes the water is high enough to make them dangerous enough.
Sometimes eddies form fun little dips that suck a raft in and spit it out. The one we saw emptied a full raft that was ahead of us. It was funny seeing a raft but no people in it. We wanted to try surfing that spot, but we couldn’t maneuver the raft close enough to catch it.
They name their rapids weirdly: Big Kahuna, Lunch Counter, Champagne. Lunch Counter? I need to think about that one for a little bit.
I like that part of the Snake River. Beautiful trees, towering cliffs. We only met grade 3 rapids, though. I’d like to try some with higher difficulty.
Colliding with climbing waves on numerous occasions, I got really wet. By the time we reached the end of the trip, the cold had seeped through my wetsuit and I was shivering. The sun also hid behind the clouds from time to time, which didn’t help. I was grateful to be paddling.
When we got to shore, I stood in the sun and peeled off the top half of the damp, black layer so the warm air contacted my skin.
It would be so fun to do that again. Fight the river. Win.
Fight the wetsuit. Win the first time.