On the agenda for the second day of our anniversary celebration was a trip down the Snake River. Let me mention here that I have a greater fear of water than I do of heights. My fear stems from a combination of experiences with the Mississippi River (it was a bike ride away from my childhood home in Clinton, Iowa) and swimming pools.
I have never really considered water to be my friend.
However, this was a challenge! I was going to face my fear and CONQUER THE SNAKE! (if it didn't conquer me first)
Notice how confident I am in the above picture...arm in the air, screaming to the wind, "Bring on BIG KAHUNA!!" (Allen is 'riding the bull', on the front of the raft, and I am directly behind him.)
As we began to float down the river, all was well. The water was relatively calm, and no one was drowning. Our guide, Cristal, decided to shake things up a bit.
"I need a volunteer. Hey, you, in the front, what's your name?"
I remained quiet and looked to Melissa, sitting next to me. She was as scared as I was, but I was hoping she'd take one for the team. Peer pressure got to her and she volunteered.
Cristal thanked her and instructed, "You're going to 'ride the bull' through the first rapid. Just crawl up there onto the front of the boat, hold onto the rope, and throw one hand in the air."
Melissa declined. I think she said something like, "NO WAY." Someone else volunteered, and all was well. We made it through rapid #1, and everyone was still alive. I felt a bit safer.
"Who's riding the next one up front?" Cristal asked every time we approached a new rapid. I was egged on to volunteer every time. I told you I like a challenge, so in an act of stupidity and an attempt to be funny, I said, "I'm waiting for the Big Kahuna."
My loving husband saved me there. "I'll ride Kahuna. You ride another one."
As we made it through each rapid, I became more confident. No one fell out. No one drowned. I can do this, I told myself.
"Here comes Champagne. Gerberta, you climb up front."
So I did. And I rode like a mad woman, hand in the air, mocking the 12-foot waves as they crashed down upon me. (12 feet may be a slight exaggeration) I yelled, "BRING IT ON!!" as we fell down the 8-foot waterfall. (There may not have been any waterfall, either.)
When we came out of the rapid, I realized with amazement that I had survived!
As I moved back into position, Allen said to me, "I never thought I would see the day that you would ride on the front of a raft."
Just what I wanted to hear. I love to surprise people, especially myself.
The 2 largest rapids on this stretch of the Snake are Lunch Counter and Big Kahuna. At Big Kahuna there are photographers perched upon a rock that take your picture and sell it to you for a mark-up of around 500%. (I'm a sucker for pictures of myself doing things I thought to be impossible, though. I guess they count on that.)
As we approached the larger rapids, I became nervous again. They looked pretty big from far away. I imagined they were only larger as we went through them. I imagined correctly.
Apparently, I had chosen the wrong place to sit (up front, in the middle) because I was completely drenched each time a new wave hit the boat. We made it through Lunch Counter. Now it was time for the photo opportunity at the Big Kahuna.
And I made it. I didn't fall out of the boat, I didn't drown or die, and the boat didn't flip. I didn't get caught in a whirlpool, sucked into an undertow, or eaten by a piranha. These fears were all unfounded!
I dare say, I had the time of my life! What an adventure. And I couldn't wait to see the pictures, to prove to any unbelievers that I did this.
The pictures were ordered online. They looked grand.
When they came in the mail and I could see them more clearly, I realized that my attempt to appear bold and fearless came across more as....well, see for yourself. Here is a close-up from the picture above:Maybe terrified is a better word? But I still made it.
Later that evening we went to the Bar J Wranglers Chuckwagon Cookout and Show, where some very talented guys play a variety of instruments and sing cowboy songs for everyone. Here is a picture of the planners of this fun trip, Ken and Vickie (at left). Thanks, Ken and Vickie, for including us in an unforgettable adventure!
Stay tuned for Day 3: Star Valley & The Trip Home!