I’m not sure where rivers come from, someplace hidden, but I know that if it were not for them, there would be no lakes and maybe even no oceans. I hold them to be a little less scary, most of them having at least two shores visible, sometimes more if there is an island in the middle. They seem to be self-cleaning if left alone. Sometimes they become shallow enough that the bottom can be seen and there is no fearsome, endless descent as in the sea. Another wonderful thing about them is their motion, always on their way to something and wanting to take you along, which is mostly a good thing. Sometimes not.
We were visiting our hometown for a family reunion and one of our bonding activities was a river trip. The Namekagon runs past our town in its own valley, one of the nation’s Wild River Refuges, and we have often gone down sections of it in boats, canoes, kayaks and inner tubes. This time I was in a short, one person kayak, which because of its lack of length and directionality, was more like a teacup floating along on the current.
I don’t remember how I got close enough to the willows on the bank to get caught in them, but it was a place where the current quickened and was strong as it bent around a corner. Leaning a bit to avoid getting hit in the face, I lowered the edge of the teacup enough on the upriver side to allow the flow into the boat – the death knell of staying upright on the water. We, the teacup and I, flipped.
There are only split seconds in which to discover whether you will stand or swim, hang onto the boat or onto the paddle. It is exciting, so much so that you may not even notice injuries incurred on the rocky river bottom. I stood, a little more than waist high, in the cold, swift and amazingly strong stream, choosing to hold onto my boat. Like a sail catching the wind, the kayak caught the water and only the overhanging branches kept us from going quickly downstream. It took an adrenalin rush for me to wrestle the boat upright and walk it to more shallow water where I could empty it.
By this time, others were aware of my predicament and were watching for my paddle to float past. We regrouped and continued our trip.
I remember this incident because it is the only time I have capsized (unless there is another that I have truly forgotten). I remember it because of the large bruise, scrape and painful lump on my shin that took a couple months to heal. I remember it because of the miracle of going back and finding my camera, catching the sun and glinting among the rocks on the bottom. I dried it out and it still worked, sort of. I remember it because of all the gorgeous pictures on the digital card that I still have and enjoy.
The river meant no harm. We just had an experience together.
When has nature given you an adrenalin rush experience?
8 thoughts on “#AtoZChallenge: My Favorite Things R”
I was tubing down a river (I forget which one but it was in NC or SC) and there were a bunch of small rapid sections. Nothing too rough, but going over one, my tube flipped, and I ended up stubbing my finger on the bottom. I was so focused on not breathing in water that I didn’t even notice two others in my family going over me in their tubes before I could surface. It was quite the experience, especially for my first tubing adventure, but I’d definitely go again.
And sorry I’m so late getting to my A to Z reading, but thanks for sharing your thoughts on rivers and your story.
And thank you for reading. The A to Z backlog gives us a lot of reading for the future – a good thing.
Whew! I’m glad you were okay!
Landing a boat on the shore, through the surf in Alaska. If you dont catch the wave right you can go over the crest and then the wave comes in behind and over you….i only did that once. Luckily no one was hurt but its a really scary experience
Yes, some catastrophic things can take place at “borders” between environments. Glad you got it down.
I guess it would be bareback riding in winter through fields of deep snow. Haven’t done it for years, but it was quite amazing to experience the connections with horse and weather.
How fortunate that you could retrieve your camera!
Beautiful pictures you’ve shared!
Riding bareback is definitely connecting with nature, and I can imagine how a horse would have to move in deep snow (but it might be a pretty cool landing if you fell). Thanks for your comment!
It was a waterfall for me that gave me the adrenaline rush. I kind of flipped my tube and went straight under water. I was 12 I guess. Loved that picture of flowing river. Beauty of nature.