Monday, June 29, 2009

Rafting on the Lehigh Gorge

Whew! I've been caught up in a whirlwind the past few days. I've kept an eye on Google Reader and I know life exists outside my crazy world, but I'm not a speed reader and I have had absolutely no time to catch up on your lives. I have a lot of news though, so please allow me to ramble on...and I promise, I will be up to speed on all the news and gossip within the next 2 weeks.

Some of you may remember my announcement that I was losing my job. Well, I have good news to share...I've found another one. This is my last week in my old job and there's tons of handing over to do; not to mention prepping for my new job. But it's all good and I'm definitely not complaining.
And a lot of the busy has been fun busy. It has been awhile since DH and I went white water rafting, but our previous trips have been very enjoyable, so when a friend Raj invited us to join him and his 2 friends on a rafting trip on the Lehigh River on Saturday, we readily agreed. I was the odd woman out, but the guys kindly agreed to count me as one of the boys.

DH and I had a busy Friday evening buying supplies for our upcoming camping trip, followed by a late evening at a friend's place, so by the time we hit the sack, it was 1:30 am. You can imagine the curses that were uttered when the alarm went off at 5:20 am. Things brightened soon enough; it was a pleasant 2-hour drive to Jim Thorpe, PA, and I asked myself why I don't wake up early more often. I can't say enough about early mornings....the sun rise, the birds, the trees, the clean air. Somehow, things are less complicated in the mornings.

At Pocono Whitewater, we had just enough time to gulp down a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich and get our life jackets on. We had decided not to carry lunch...we would feast after the trip.

While DH and I were out to have a good time, Raj and Partha were fiercely competitive and determined to prove that they were the best amateur rafters on the river that day. Kartik on the other hand, had one goal...he was determined not to fall off the raft and return from the trip in one piece. They had all rafted together before on a different section of the same river. DH and I had rafted on the Hudson previously with Class III and IV rapids, but we had been accompanied by a river guide (I happen to think the guides are a sight for sore eyes...I must admit, I've had fantasies of becoming a female river guide, just so I could ride the rapids by day and hang out with the hot male river guides by night...OK, I better stop now, in case DH decides to read this). This would be a different experience...Class II and III rapids...we would man our rafts ourselves; but there would be a couple of guides, floating in kayaks beside us.

Raj and Partha came up with the strategic plan and we were assigned our seats. Partha was appointed leader of the team, so he would sit in the rear of the raft and call out instructions. DH and Raj would ride in front, while Kartik and I would sit between them (perceived as the safest area of the raft). The thought crossed my mind that I should feel offended by this clear gender discrimination (Kartik, as I mentioned, was keen on remaining in the raft at all times, so this seating seemed to fit nicely within his plan). But, I was there to have fun, and I didn't really care where I sat. The boys could have their bulging egos.

After a short walk through Lehigh Gorge State Park (one of the guides, Nate, encouraged us to use the facili-trees (LOL! sorry, I had to mention that; this is the first time I've heard it)), we carried our raft through a narrow creek into the river. The ice-cold water of the creek made the river feel like a heated pool. We cast off. Partha took his role as leader very seriously, obligingly jumping off the raft at one point and holding it secure, so the other rafts could catch up. When all the rafts were in the water, we took off again. Despite all our strategizing however, we all seemed to have different ideas of how to keep the raft going, so it was not long before we hit our first rapid and turning back, we saw that we were one man short...our leader, Partha was standing in the river, hands above his head, clutching his paddle. He was picked up by another raft and safely delivered to us a little while later. But our coordination issues did not end there. We were all paddling in different directions and knocking our paddles against the others'. Kartik was seated smack-dab in the middle of the raft, his feet securely burrowed into the sides of the raft, his paddle barely grazing the water. After a few encounters with rapids, water filled our raft almost to the top. The "water-proof" bucket we had been provided with to keep our lunches and water bottles, floated in the pool of water, jabbing Kartik and me in the legs.

We came across another Class III, which plummeted Partha into the water again. After this little accident, a river guide was assigned to our raft. The boys' egos were bruised. They did not like the idea of a river guide telling them what to do, especially not a girl. But I was secretly relieved. Maybe this would help our coordination a bit. Brittany was a new guide and though she knew her stuff, she allowed the boys to feel like they were still in control, so all was well. When the raft got stuck and we sat perched on a rock high above the water, she helped us get it back in the water. We grazed our bottoms on several rocks, but no major accident occured.

We stopped for lunch, and Kartik (the only one in our group who brought lunch) generously shared his water-soaked but tasty lunch with us. Back in the raft, a swirling rapid sent him flying into the water; a full stomach probably made his concentration slip and his foothold loosen. To his credit, he didn't panic at all and returned to the raft, unscathed. DH was dumped in the water, too...and by this point, he was so used to seeing people fall in the water, that he relaxed completely, even pulled his goggles over his eyes, as if he were going on a snorkeling trip. I was starting to feel a little left out!

The last half of the trip was smooth sailing and we functioned like the perfect team. We dodged rocks and maneuvred rapids with ease and grace. At the end of the gorge, the other teams were beginning to pull their rafts onto the shore, but our raft had other plans. It dragged us into the current, despite our valiant efforts at pulling away. It took a lot of muscle to break free and reach the shore, but we did it eventually. We had beers and a sumptuous meal to celebrate. Unfortunately, I have no pics to share...we only got prints. I have pics of my rainbow-hued bruises, inflicted by the battering ram of a bucket. But after the un-pedicured toenail pic in one of my recent posts, I figured you'd had enough of my bruised body parts.

On the way back...
Home of The Office

We stopped at a friend's place in Easton. I love that pretty, peaceful town.
Here are some pics of the thunderstorm on Friday night. It developed from a bright and sunny 90 degrees to dark and menacing over a few seconds. What drama!

Here's my workout week (last week stretched from Tuesday to Monday):

Tuesday: 6 miles (very slow)
Thursday: 16 miles (9:45 per mile)
Friday: 5 painfully slow miles - this was my first 90 degree run this summer. Good practice for the NYC Half in August, but my, what a scorcher!
Saturday: whitewater rafting
Sunday: 6 miles (slow, recovery run (recovering from the rafting trip, that is))
Monday: 6 miles (Though I am strictly not checking my pace, this turned out to be a sort of progression run, averaging 9:20 per mile)
Total mileage: 39 miles

Have a good week, all...the long weekend beckons!


Pearl said...

wow that last photo of the thunderstorm looks beautifully intense!

J said...

So glad you found another job! Hope things go well and you like it!

Mica said...

Yay, congratulations on finding a new job!

And I LOVE canoeing and rafting. I've done more of the former than the latter, mostly because I'm afraid of falling out of the raft and breaking my leg or drowning. I'm glad you survived the trip--it sounded like a lot of fun.

Anonymous said...

That looks like a Lot of fun!
Great pics. Love the one with the grey clouds overhead.

Very impressive workout week!

Abby said...

Wow, what an adventure!

I was up in the Poconos this weekend, too, a little further north by Promised Land State Park. Was that the thunder storm that swept through NE PA, or was it in New Jersey? The weather driving up to the park on Friday afternoon was ridiculous. One storm after another - though it did bring about some beautiful rainbows.

Mel-2nd Chances said...

Yay! Congrats on the new job, great news!! Looks like quite the storm!

Roisin said...

That's so badass...I'd be scared shitless trying to go white water rafting! Go you and way to get those workouts in too.

Thunderstorm pics are awesome, by the way!

teacherwoman said...

Those pics of the storm rolling in somewhat resemble the nasty storm we endured this past weekend.

Congrats on the new job!

aron said...

congrats on the new job!!!! love all the pics and great job on the week of workouts!

Scheri said...

Congratulations on the new job!

It looks like you have been extremely busy. Very fun rafting story :-) Good job on all the running!!

Beth said...

Congrats on the new job! That makes everything more enjoyable. Those clouds are crazy!

I Run for Fun said...

Abby, that was a nasty NJ storm!

Erica said...

SUPER glad you found a new job- how exciting is that? Its wonderful that you will not have to stress any longer!!

I have always wanted to go white water rafting- I think I need to start talking to Joshers about planning a trip.

16 miles on Thursday? You ARE my hero ;)

Heather C said...

Wow Congrats on the new job!!! and another great week of training (look at you and those miles, whew!!)

Great pics too :) as usual!

lindsay said...

yay congrats on a new job! a big relief i'm sure. nice running last week!

joyRuN said...

The first ever huge fight hub & I ever had was over going camping at West Virginia for white water rafting :) We were both newbs who had NO idea what we were getting into. It was soooo much fun!

Excellent mileage for the week!

I Run for Fun said...

Joy, you MUST share that story!

Emily said...

Wow, sounds like a super intense rafting trip! I've been white water rafting a couple of times, but it wasn't nearly as difficult as what you described.

Congrats on the new job!

Amy said...

Rafting is so fun!

Glad you found another job. That is tough to do in this congrats on that :)

I would've def. taken a picture of Scranton, too. Woo hoo, Office!!

Irene said...

Congrats on the new job!

The pictures are just goregous! Now I have to go back and re-read everything!

Ali said...

Congrats on the new job! That must be a huge relief.

Great pics!

Vickie said...

Sounds like a wild rafting trip. Reminds me of a few wild canoe/kayak trips. Nice pictures and nice workout stats!