Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Well, I survived the white water rafting.  What scary fun!

Literally, I was scared half to death.  I have this love/fear thing with water.  I’m fascinated by it, love the romanticism of it, the beauty and mystery of it, but, I’m terrified of drowning.

As the old cliché goes, though:  What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Or, it makes you scream:  “Holy Shit!”  a lot.  Really a lot.

Thank God there are young men in this world like Brock, our guide, who revel in this sort of adventurous life-style and make it their duty to take excellent care of us holiday thrill-seekers.  These young men (and women) who work these types of jobs are truly heroic.

I chose, purposely, to sit at the back next to our guide as I figured (rightly) that it would be the safest place on the boat.  If I was going to be pitched overboard, at least he’d be there to grab me right away.  Thankfully, for both of us, that never happened.

But, we came close.

A class IV rapid is a scary, scary beast.  Big drops in the water called bowls, where the raft just plunges down into, huge waves  that slam the raft about as if it were a toy, and the loud, angry churning of the water all around, so loud you can barely hear the instructions to get your oar into the water and paddle HARD!

Then, you’re out of it and laughing, amazed that the last 30 seconds of your life were lived so intensely, but there’s no time to contemplate your success because Brock is hollering:  “Okay, here we are, oars in the water on my go!  WE DO NOT WANT TO GO FOR A SWIM HERE, DO YOU HEAR ME?”  And then, it’s another class IV, this one bigger and nastier than the last.

I nearly came out of the boat on that one.  Ass up in the air.  The only thing that saved me was the ropes.  The lovely, lovely ropes.  I grabbed on and held on.  To hell with paddling!  Meanwhile, Brock is up behind us, steering us out of the rapids.  The amount of physical strength such a feat must take.

I asked him after if he was done for the day.  Nope.  They would be going out with another group almost as soon as we got back.  There was a break for lunch of about an hour.  But that was it.

My hats off to them all — they are an amazing bunch of young people.

The rafting was the highlight of my trip to the mountains this time.  Usually, it’s just hiking, but this time we decided to switch things up a bit.

Our first day we drove to Field, B.C., where we stayed with some friends of Heather’s.  Wonderful people.  We drove up to Takkakaw Falls and got soaked, partly because of the mist spraying off the falls, (which are beautiful) but mostly because of the rain.

Rain has plagued us now for nearly two weeks.  Straight.  We are sick of it.  We had hoped that up in the mountains it would be drier and more summer-like.  But, no.  It was overcast and rainy most of the time.  We did not let that dampen (ha ha) our spirits or our plans.  Albertans, Canadians, in general, are an intrepid bunch.  Especially as our summers are so damned short.

Sunshine or not, temps barely in the teens or not, we are going to get out there and enjoy ourselves.

After the rafting, we had a couple of hours of down time and then we headed into Banff to pick up our hot springs tickets and to go for our trail ride.  It was a lovely ride, a bit cool, and unfortunately a nose to tail affair, but really, quite lovely to trek on horseback into the mountains.

We’ve decided that our next adventure just might be a 3 or 4 day horseback trip into the back country.  I think that would be fun.  But I’ll have to really take some strong measures to stretch and stretch and stretch.  My knees and groin tendons were just screaming after two hours on the back of a horse.

Sunday, we drove back into Banff for a small hike around Johnson Lake and then a soak in

the Banff Hot Springs.  It was lovely.  But, I have to say I do prefer the hot springs at Miette over the ones at Banff.  Up at Miette you are surrounded by mountains, at Banff you’ve got a view of one mountain and then the hotel.  Just not the same experience.

Monday, Heather and I got up and left Lynn who had to return to work that day and drove through the mountains via the Columbia

Highway and then into Jasper.  We stopped at Mount Edith Cavell for a short hike around the base of the Angel Wing Glacier, and oohed and aahed over the lovely alpine flowers.

The glacier put on a grand show by delivering a number of avalanches down onto the tail that hangs above the foot of the glacier and the glacier pond below.  Was quite amazing to watch.  The sound was like a freight train or jet flying very low overhead.  Then there would be a massive crack and the snow would cascade down over the rock face.  Very beautiful.

So, now, I’m back at home.  My mini vacation is over. I’ve got a bazillion things to do and time is flying by.

Hope everyone is enjoying this break.  Let’s all pray for sunshine and summer weather!

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19 Comments

  1. granny1947 said,

    July 13, 2011 at 11:22 am

    I believe bungee jumping has the same effect…I am not going to try that either.
    Hats off to you.

    • klrs09 said,

      July 13, 2011 at 4:15 pm

      Loved bungee jumping! Want to try it off a bridge someday.

  2. Jill said,

    July 13, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    I bet with all the rain we’ve had the rivers were raging for you. I really enjoyed rafting too – although like you, I was scared half to death at times.

    • klrs09 said,

      July 13, 2011 at 4:16 pm

      Yeah, they (Hydra) said the water was fluctuating between 5″ and 12″ every day. the day we went it was up 8″. Day before they had a raft flip in the class IV — glad I didn’t find that out until after our trip!

  3. July 13, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Wow, this blog was quite a ride! Thanks for such an exuberant post…

  4. klrs09 said,

    July 13, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    Thank you! It was a wonderful trip.

  5. siggiofmaine said,

    July 13, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    WoW ! That’s a vacation you need to come home and recover from !
    Thanks for the photos and the play by play.
    You are one gutsy lady.
    I do think I’d try bungy jumping … if there was someone to push me off the start !

    ☮ ♥ Siggi in Downeast Maine

    • klrs09 said,

      July 14, 2011 at 10:24 am

      Thanks for stopping by — bungy jumping is a hoot! I highly recommend it. Don’t know that I’m so gutsy, really, more crazy than anything, I’d guess.

  6. Cindy said,

    July 13, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    Good Lord, Kathy, you did that for FUN???
    The hot springs sound nice though …

    • klrs09 said,

      July 14, 2011 at 10:25 am

      The hot springs were very nice — my husband and I make a habit of trying to find hot springs where ever we travel. It’s just such a nice way to unwind.

  7. souldipper said,

    July 14, 2011 at 12:15 am

    Kath, hearing these names really do make me homesick. However, I did my whitewater rafting on the Clearwater River in BC. But reading your description took me back – big time. One to the guffaws was hearing that most people pee in the wet suits. Ewwwwww! Thanks a lot especially knowing they are merely hosed down with cold water!

    Sure enjoyed this holiday adventure.

    • klrs09 said,

      July 14, 2011 at 10:28 am

      Thanks Amy. I didn’t pee in my wetsuit — was too scared to pee! Yeah, I wondered about the ‘cleaning’ especially when, after we got back they had us dump the wetsuits in big vats which I think were only filled with river water! But, I pushed that right out of my mind. . .we really did have too much fun.

  8. July 14, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Wow! I live a block from the Truckee River in Northern Nevada and I can’t tell you how many helicopters we hear rescuing white water rafters. I love water sports but I’m too old for that stuff now…at least, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. :0)

    • klrs09 said,

      July 22, 2011 at 10:13 am

      There’s no helicopter rescues on the Kicking Horse — no place really to get one in — everything depends on the guides and their expertise. Now that a couple of weeks have gone by I keep asking myself “what was I thinking!”

  9. Tilly Bud said,

    July 14, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    You are brave! Sounds like a wonderful experience, but not for me, thank you.

  10. Elle said,

    July 22, 2011 at 7:00 am

    I love going on adventure vacations like these. I’m a total adrenaline junkie so this is right up my alley!

  11. klrs09 said,

    July 22, 2011 at 10:14 am

    It’s just one of those things you don’t really think about until after it’s done. I’m glad I did it, though — it really was exciting.

    • klrs09 said,

      July 22, 2011 at 10:15 am

      I highly recommend it — but don’t attempt it when the waters are higher than normal — creates all kinds of extra problems.

  12. December 7, 2011 at 5:09 pm

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