|photo credit: Beth Gauper|
Now, for those of you who are longtime followers, you already know that I am not a fan of water. Well, I shower and everything like THAT, but I do NOT swim, and lakes scare me. But I DID go tubing once before on a family outing. We all tied our tubes together (there was about 15 of us floating down the river!)
On Friday, I made my family SWEAR that if it started to thunder and lightning that they would all hightail themselves around me and pull MY lily white butt out of the water because not only am I afraid of water, but I am also TERRIFIED of storms.
I know. I am a thrill to be around.
So everyone promised. We all scrambled to our prospective tents/campers to change into our suits and by the time we reassembled, it was raining cats and dogs.
We debated about cancelling our plans, but then thought that we could either sit in the rain at the campground (well THEY could; I'd sit in my nice dry trailer), OR we could tube down the river. We were going to get wet anyway, right?
Okay! Tubing it was! The campground provided the tubes AND the ride to the river. My heart was pounding out of my chest all the way to the river as I thought about what I had signed up to do. Was I nucking futs?
We crammed into a couple of vans.
I asked the driver, "How deep is the river?"
"Aw, not too deep."
"Yeah, what does that mean?" I probed.
"Well, some places you hit bottom, others it's about 2 feet, and there are a couple of deep spots."
"See, Patty, that's not too bad," one of my relatives piped up from the back seat.
"How deep are the deep spots?" I had to know.
"About 9 feet."
"Oh GREAT! I shouldn't have asked!" My heart did double time.
He said, "I just tubed down the river yesterday, and I don't know how to swim. I was fine."
The rain had stopped by the time we arrived at the river. So that was good.
We jumped out of the van. Then we grabbed tubes from the truck and headed to the river. Walking down the slope to the riverbank was like walking the plank on a pirate ship.
|photo credit: Laurarama|
I probably would have been okay by myself, but I was chicken and had Jim tie my tube to his. Also, he tied the tube with the cooler to the other side of his tube. So we were a threesome, or a menage-a-trois if you will.
The river moved very S-L-O-W-L-Y, and that was a good thing.
It was shallow in MOST spots. THAT was a good thing.
I didn't know where it was deep, and THAT was a good thing (except if someone jumped off their tube and went underwater).
The tubes were pretty uncomfortable. The last time we did this, the tubes seemed more comfortable. Granted, that was 15 years ago and I was a lot skinnier. BUT, even the skinny people said they were uncomfortable.
So what ended up happening was that I kept trying to hold myself up so by the end of the trip (AND the next day) my muscles really ached!
It was very peaceful on the river. We saw so many butterflies.
We passed under a beautiful old railroad bridge.
I wished I had a waterproof camera to take along our journey.
I heard so many birds singing.
A bald eagle flew right over the river!
There were a few "rapids" that we crossed. Rapids meaning that the water rushed faster, but they were tiny. Not enough to scare me, or make me go to shore and walk a little bit. (I have been known to do this.)
There were a few "islands" in the middle of the river, and we'd have to choose which side to pass it. Most times it wasn't a problem.
But the last one?
THAT was the problem.
I saw my nephew ahead of us. We were approaching an island. Joe chose to go left. Jim said, "Which way do you want to go?"
There were rapids on either side.
I chose to go right.
Which was, of course, the WRONG way.
The rapids moved us faster past the island. But up ahead was a fallen tree.
And we were headed straight for it.
My SIL, Karen, was ahead of us.
"WATCH OUT FOR THAT TREE!" She yelled.
Jim tried to paddle us away from it, but a) the current was too strong, and b) with two tubes pulling alongside his, it was too hard.
We headed straight for the tree!
Jim jumped off his tube.He wanted to pull us out.
The current was so strong that it knocked into my tube and tossed me.
I knew I was going down and screamed.
Luckily I took a deep breath.
It was only a couple of feet of water.
STILL! It was scary! I didn't KNOW it was only that deep. I scraped my knee along the stoney bottom.
I have NEVER gone under water without holding my nose.
My glasses stayed on my face, THANK GOD!
I was pretty shook up. Karen saw what happened. She had jumped up onto the shore and came back into the water to help us. I could barely stand because a) I had been on the tube for over 2 hours and my legs were shakey, b) I was scared shitless and c) I am afraid of water. Did I tell you that already?
"Don't worry, Patty, I'll get you out of here!" Karen reassurred me.
I got back on the tube. Jim pulled the front, Karen pushed the other side. The strong current was pushing from the back. I almost got knocked off again. The water got deeper as Jim made his way around the tree. I held on for dear life. FINALLY we were out of danger.
I was done.
Luckily the ride was just about over.
I needed a drink.
So out of the 13 people in our family who went tubing, ONE person fell off and hurt themselves.
And it was ME.
The one who can't SWIM and is afraid of water.
I am WOMAN, hear me WIMPER.