ILA/ Period 1
Feb. 10, 2017
Rapidly Moving Forward
We tossed and turned through the rapid; I gripped my paddle with white knuckles. We paddled frantically, though I’m not sure that it really did anything. Up ahead, I could see a large rapid approaching. I started to panic. My stomach was churning with the same rhythm as the boat.Our boat had never been over a rapid as big as this, what if something happened?
“No! I will not be afraid of water!” I thought firmly to myself. The trees on the side bank whizzed by as our boat sped on. At last, the biggest rapid was upon us.
“I’m doomed!” I thought to myself.
A short hour or two earlier, on the bus…
Our bus continued to speed along from paved roads to dirt ones.
“Aren’t you excited? I am so excited right now!” my friend, Nishka, rambled on next to me.
“I can’t wait!” I responded with nervous laughter.
“This is going to be so much fun! This is what I have been looking forward to most over the weekend!” my friend continued. Obviously, she didn’t hear my fright over her excitement. I didn’t want to tell her that I was scared out of my mind. Why I was scared, I had no clue. This wasn’t my first time rafting and I always had fun and I never got hurt. Yet, I still had a feeling of dread. Wishing I could be as cheerful as she was, I decided to ignore it and push it to the back of my mind. Looking out the window, my nerves were calmed more. The bus at last pulled to a stop. Everyone filed off the shuttle and into the wilderness. I started to observe our new surroundings. Behind the bus was a long, winding dirt road that curved around the mountain and out of sight. In front was a small clearing. It was surrounded by tall, thin trees. They had long, swaying high up branches. The leaves were beautiful shades of red, orange, yellow, and green. I was in awe. Behind that, I could see rafting guides taking boats down a hilly ramp into the rushing waters of the river.
Meanwhile, we got separated into groups of five or six; enough for a boat. We were all led down steep stairs and into our rafts. We each pushed off, one craft after another, drifting down stream at a slow rate. Our river guide directed us to paddle at certain points. Somehow, I felt calm and relaxed, not afraid at all. I almost felt confident. As we continued farther downstream, our raft started to pick up speed. I started to get the feeling that we were approaching our first rapid. I took a deep breath and jabbed my foot harder into my blow-up seat. I closed my eyes.
“Inhale, exhale.” I thought to myself. When I reopened my eyes, we were almost on top of the rapid. Whoosh! CRASH! Was the sound of a wall of water toppling on top of us(I took the brunt of it). Every single one of us had a wide smile on. The next mile of the ride seemed to go by in a breeze. We went over a few small rapids. I felt fearless and confident and felt as if nothing could scare me. I was wrong. As we continued down the lazy river, we turned around a bend, and I soon discovered that I was way off when I called it “Lazy!” Up ahead, I saw a series of vicious rapids, rapids that made our first rapid seem like a mere splash in a bucket. My heart sped up and my palms became sweaty. I feared that I was going to lose grip of the paddle.
Our guide barked instructions that only added angst to the feeling of dread emerging from my gut. I wanted to shout, turn back and just be warm and cuddly under my blankets back at camp. If I did shout out, others in the boat would know I was a scaredy cat, a whimp and a cry baby. None of that was going to happen so I swallowed hard and stayed somewhat composed, or rather frozen as I looked straight ahead.
The boat began to rise and fall harder and harder with each rapid that we encountered. The water spilled over the sides and into the boat. I was hit by a faceful of cold water. I wiped my face off with the back of my hand but that did nothing because my hands were just as wet. It was a lost cause, at this point there was not a dry spot on my body.
Looking ahead, I suspected we were approaching the end but not before tackling the fiercest and most intimidating rapid of all.
As the boat swayed up and down more violently and the water attempted to turn it into a spinning top, we paddled with all our might to keep the nose heading straight ahead into the soul of the rapid. My boat mates were screaming although I could not tell whether it was out of fear or out of excitement. My heart was pounding but it was at that moment that I realized that this was actually exhilarating! The water gushed towards us but we forged on fighting to keep control and letting the river know that WE were in control.
As we finally made it past this Level IV rapid, everyone in the boat was exhausted and relieved. I also realized that while I harbored my fears throughout the ride that I was not alone. I also realized that working together as a team and keeping our focus towards a common goal, we not only survived but also enjoyed the ride!