Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Backlog: September White Water Trip

I've been a wee bit remiss in writing lately due to the frenzy of the holidays and being way too busy for my own good (oh, and I turned 30 - more on that later).

Anyway, I've cleared some time in my schedule so without further ado, let the backlog continue.

Months before September, my diligent sister Anne saw a Living Social deal for white water rafting. Flash forward a few months' worth of scheduling conflicts, and 5 out of the 7 of us - plus my friend Katie - were on our way to the Tieton river near Yakima for an afternoon of watery fun.

The ride itself was pretty fun; we all piled into my dad's van with snacks and blankets for the 2+ hour drive. The weather was a perfect 75 or so and when we arrived they were barbecuing a huge lunch to feed the morning rafters who had just finished, and us afternoon rafters about to begin.

After chowing down we received our ultra-sexy wetsuits...

...while Tessa found a familiar face - a girl she knows works for the rafting company, and this connection hooked us up with the best guide acquaintance could buy: Pickles. Here he is teaching Tessa how to flip a boat:

After a safety talk and a quick lesson on commands and dos and don'ts, we were getting ready to pile into our boat when Pickles noticed that we were pretty low on air. The portable pump was broken. After staring at the boat in contemplation for a few moments, Pickles shrugged and said something along the lines of, well, it'll be an interesting ride! I think he was happy for the challenge.

We put into the water and immediately started working quite well as a team, something Pickles complimented us on several times. After the first mini-rapid, everyone was screaming and laughing and completely hooked.

Look at how in sync our oars are!

The thing about having less air is that you ride really low in the water and flop about, making each rapid feel significantly larger but also providing a lot more opportunity to fall out. Although a few people in other boats did get bounced into the water, we didn't lose a soul and had the most hilarious time being the joke 'low rider' of the bunch. I highly recommend riding with less air if you ever have the chance.

The Tieton is a really shallow river and is apparently one of the most technically difficult in the area. We never would have known since Pickles was such a competent (and cocky but what outdoors enthusiast isn't at age 23?) guide. The ride was the exact right amount of time; just as we were starting to get cold and sore, it was over.

After peeling off our wetsuits we took a picture with Pickles...

...and piled back into the van to have dinner in nearby Naches at a local dive - the "Walkabout Creek Saloon" - recommended to us by the guides (who ended up filing in about 30 minutes after we did). Burgers and tater tots digesting, we set off for the drive home with just about everyone in the car passing out except my trusty dad behind the wheel.

I have a feeling that wasn't the last time the Archers will hit the rapids!

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