Rafters Journal

Day 1:   Wow! Quite a day for this city girl! Chose the paddle boat this afternoon, and it was great fun. We managed to keep the bow forward through most of the rapids (I think the left side crew was weak, though. Ha!) “Pampered camping” was no exaggeration. I ate like a king, and am getting ready to sleep like a baby (outside our tent& star gazing). I luxuriated in an unbelievable hot springs bubbling out of the ground just above camp. It’s sooooo quiet. Lots of deep thoughts!

Day 2:  A bit nippy this morning, but the morning fire and coffee were a treat. The guides make us the most amazing food with these “dutch ovens,” just like the old-timers used to. Except instead of beans and squirrel stew, it’s steak, seafood stuffing, and Bavarian Torte! If we weren’t in the largest wilderness in the lower 48 states, you’d swear it was catered in. Today it seemed like everyone wanted to paddle the afternoon stretch, and so our family kicked back in an oar boat. This place is beautiful! Brent saw deer at the hot springs and otters on the river! After swearing we didn’t need hot showers in the wilderness, I caved in and treated myself to one tonight! Followed by an enchanted evening of songs and visiting around the fire.

Day 3: So many rapids on this stretch, I couldn’t resist getting in on the action, so I paddled again today. My brave son is trying to talk me into trying one of the inflatable kayaks tomorrow. Says it’s “rad!” (that’s code for “scary at first”). I can’t believe we’re seeing vestiges of the native Americans, mining prospectors and homesteaders. During the calm stretches, I spend a lot of time imagining how life was for them back then, how incredibly tough they must have been, and wonder why I didn’t use to think history was so fascinating.

Day 4: I’m so jealous of the people who keep spotting animals! So far, no one has seen any black bears, so that’s my mission now. I’m going through my film way too fast. It was sunny today and so I got to swim again&on purpose this time! (Yesterday I “swam” when I leaned too far reaching for a paddle!) I was just glad I could help everyone practice their rescue skills (and provide fodder for the evening’s campfire stories)!

Day 5:  After feasting on crepes at breakfast, I went for a short hike with Jackie (my new “best friend,” from New Orleans). I’m beginning to believe we’re in some kind of freaky “accelerated human bonding zone!”   Brent and I both have mentioned that we’ve had better talks with our son than we have in years.  Last night, I actually “ran rapids” in my dream! Maybe I am ready to try the inflatable kayak&on one of our more calm water stretches! Brent is ecstatic about being able to catch fish for a change! He was in an oar boat today and caught 74 trout–between rapids! Even the beginner in the group caught 15, not counting when she “caught” the guide’s cap! Ha! This place is “catch and release,” so it’s full of fish. These boatmen never cease to educate, amaze, and entertain us (oh yeah, and they get us all safely down this boat-eating river!) I know a couple of the guests who have developed serious crushes on two of the guides!

Day 6: What day of the week is it? I have such a refreshed spirit. So sad to see the trip ending! Last night we exchanged addresses and “swore” to come back every summer. (I wonder if we really could?!)