An instagram friend sent this to me this morning:
Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature,
nor do the children of men as a whole experience it.
Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.
Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”
On that note, I guess it’s time to talk about this rapid that shook the whole trip up and sent Ben down the river without a life jacket. Despite the fact that what brought John and I within one minute of throwing in the towel and calling our mom was a rapid rated at a 2, we had grown to fear nothing below a six. Yes we’d strap stuff down, close the camera case, throw on some rain pants, and keep our eyes peeled, but a 2 you could practically go down blindfolded. At least that’s how we thought until John says to me one day “I think someone’s out of their boat.” I looked back and saw Heath, but I didn’t see anything else until I spotted something bright in the water about 30 yards away from their boat bobbing up and down. “Holy shit! what the fuck happened?”
We pulled off to the side and waited after we saw them both back in the boat, and when they arrived they had a little tale to tell. It turns out when John and I rolled by this little riffle and noticed a small pour over out of the blue, it was much worse than it looked. In the books that we had (one in each boat), every rapid has at least a brief description on the dynamics of that particular piece of water, but for 2’s we must have stopped checking. I briefly remember seeing the pour over, being surprised it was in a 2, and said “man, that little thing could fuck you up.” Well it did. It sent Ben out of the raft, sucked him under the boat, sent Heath into a panic, almost flipped the raft, and washed some vital things overboard never to be found including a map, all in a matter of seconds. Because of Ben’s love for his dry suit, he had it zipped up and fully sealed for no real reason, which made him about as ready as he’d ever be for a rapid. The dry suits always retain a certain amount of air trapped inside, so when you go overboard, you float like a cork even without a vest. You can see in the video below the two of them talk about it just minutes after it happened, as well as at campfire. The mark it made lasted for days.
After we floated away and made our way towards camp to dry off, we couldn’t help but think about how something that they completely left out of the book had scared the shit out of us. That is until we went back and re-read the description for that 2, and saw the words “be careful of this sleeper.” Whoops. “Where were you on that one dipshit?”