I promised pictures of my white water rafting trip. Voila!
At the end of my Yellowstone adventure we decided to do a half-day white water rafting trip down the Yellowstone River. This was my first rafting adventure and I must admit that I was nervous. I just knew that after our rattlesnake, grizzly bear, and buffalo experiences I would not make it out of the river unscathed. Fortunately, I was wrong! We had a blast! I must admit that I was little surprised to see a smile on my face throughout all of the pictures. I didn't realize at that time that I was smiling - I expected to look worried in at least a few of them!
I am on the second row on the left-hand side of the boat... the one with the hat but no glasses.
The water was freezing! Yes, I did fall in. But not because of the rapids. While we were navigating the river I surprisingly never felt like I would fall in. I was only in the water when I was either 1) pushed in by our guide ("Hey! You guys sit on the edge of the raft while I check the air pressure of the seats..." Splash!) or 2) when I was suckered into riding the bull. Oh, the bull. In a raft, "riding the bull" means that you sit on the front edge of the boat and let your legs hang over into the water. You are supposed to grab the rope (that goes around the perimeter of the raft) with one hand and wave your other arm around in the air. The guide said over and over "It is the safest seat in the raft. When we go through the rapids the front of the boat will pop up and if you fall, you will fall back into the boat." First of all, this is the same guide that just had us sit on the edge of the raft to "check the air pressure" while he pushed us into the water. Second, "when we go through the rapids"? What?!? We are going to be on there through the rapids? Oh gosh. I make a mental not to not volunteer for the bull. Don't make a sound, Emily. Sit quietly. Stare at your shoes. Act like you aren't listening. Please. Oh, please. Don't let anyone look at me. And then it begins. The chanting. "Emily. Emily. Emily." I zone out to the moment in seventh grade when I decided to hop on a fake bull at a friend's house. It was basically a barrell tied up in the air with a rope attached to four posts. I bravely hopped up on to a plastic patio chair and attempted to stradle the bull. I throw one leg over the barrell. I glance up at my friends, not sure if my body is shaking because of the wobbly chair or my nerves - but I am proud to be the one who goes first. I begin to throw my other leg over, silently celebrating that I have never been quite so brave. I'm not even sure if I made it all the way up, because the next thing I know the patio chair is broken and I am laying on the ground with the inside of my leg sliced open from a jagged plastic edge on the chair. One ride on the back of the lawnmower back to civilization (I, sitting on a pile of grass and leaves in a make-shift wagon, trust my life to a fellow 11 year old to drive the lawn mower down the street and up the long, country drive way. I remember there being a discussion of both how to turn it on and which pedal was gas or brake.), a 3 hour waiting room visit, 11 stitches, and a 4-inch scar (still visible, by the way) later, I decided fake bulls and I were finished. The memory blurs as I realize that I am still in fact on the raft in the middle of a river being taunted by my friends who are now grabbing my paddle and pushing me to the front of the raft. I once again find myself attempting to stradle a bull. I throw one leg over the edge - thinking that this seems eerily familiar. I glance up at the rapids, not sure if my body is shaking because of the waves or my nerves - but I am somewhat proud to be the one who goes first. I begin to throw my other leg over, silently celebrating that I have officially never made it this far with a bull before. I'm not even sure if ever even sat on the bull, because the next thing I know I am in the icy water staring at the rapids in front of me. Before I can blink, Marina's dad reaches down, grabs the back of my life jacket, and pulls me straight back up into the boat. I refuse to not look as defeated as I feel. I should have waved my white flag. But no. I take the advice from the little red guy sitting on my left shoulder and I try again. This time, in an attempt to not slide down into the water, I drape my legs over the edge and lean backwards. That dosn't work. I rode for the next few mintutes with my rear end on the floor of the raft and my feet straight up in the air... through the rapids. I liken it to sticking your face up to the exhaust pipe when a semi starts it engine. Or perhaps getting out of a hottub and immediately jumping straight into artic waters. It was neither fun, nor brave, nor impressive. I was doused with water uncontrollably. I was pounded by the river for what felt like hours. I couldn't open my eyes, couldn't breathe, couldn't move. I didn't let go of the rope, though. And Marina's dad never let go of me. Finally, we made it through the rapids and I took the crawl of shame back to my place on the raft and watched every other person successfuly ride the bull with grace and ease.
One embarrassing ride on the floor of the raft, two rope burns on either hand, four large gulps of river water, one impressed guide (apparently he has never seen anyone but me actually fall out of the front of the raft before... or ride on the floor), and 5 laughing friends later I have once again decided that fake bulls and I are finished. May we never meet again, Bull. May we pretty pretty please with a cherry on top never meet again.