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