Riding the Red River Rapids
Twenty minutes later we were boarding “Unsinkable” for our second run. Our arms and shoulders were burning, our sneakers were squishy and we reeked of mildew, but we were excited. This time the river seemed to know that we’d been there before, and tried as hard as it could to throw us from the raft. We relied on every one of Slasher’s calls to drive us. A particular part of the falls dubbed “The Washing Machine” was extra violent the second time around. One of our team was tossed into the water and disappeared. He emerged at the bottom of the rapids, purple helmet bobbing in the waves, wielding his paddle like a trophy. A deft lifeguard/kayaker “the Edge” swooped over and plucked the floater from the water and deposited him on shore.
Every rock and rapid which came into contact with the raft seemed more aggressive than the on the first run. Another set of rapids attached us. Slasher decided to take us sideways over some rocks so we’d flip. Almost everyone fell out of the raft. One minute we were riding the rapids and the next minute there was only one person left in the raft. Even Slasher got dunked but he was quickly hoisted aboard and extended a hand to the rest of the stragglers. It is not easy to pull a soaking and sputtering rafter in; it’s almost like dead weight. We did a head and paddle count and behold, someone had lost their paddle! We scanned the water for it, spotted a few mangled ones caught in the rocks and an abandoned borrowing one from a competitor’s co., but no Propulsion paddle. I asked Slasher if orphan paddles are ever recovered to which he ominously answered “eventually…or maybe never”. There was some good natured bickering over who had set their paddle free; I just want to point out that according to the videotaped footage of our run, played back numerous in slo-mo, I DID NOT DROP MY PADDLE. So there. By this point we were exhausted and starving but we still had to paddle ashore, and hike the muddy wood. We persevered, and returned to camp for a barbecue. And what a queue it was, first for the two showers and then for the yum yum steroid beef. There were steaks, bread, salad, beer and brownies, all included in the day’s cost.
Photographs of the run’s climactic moments were posted, and a video of the days events played in the background of the lodge as we ate dinner. Copies of the video cost $25.00 and individual photos were $12.00 each. They make entertaining souvenirs! The Propulsion run provides for a full day of outdoor fun. It will set you back $69 before tax, and a full wetsuit will get %15 butÿths mid snack, and BBQ meal.
As outdoor excursions go, this was great! I got out of the city, made new friends, pumped up , and chowed down. The greatest part of all was that I beat the rapids. Make sure you put this on the top of your summer list of things to do for next year. White water, here I come!
- wear only a bathing suit under the wetsuit
- wear surfer slippers or sneakers
- do not wear glasses! they will get knocked off
- bring your own soap
- practice bladder control; there are only two washrooms!
- bond with your team; you’ll need their cooperation
- don’t swallow any river water, unless you want your offspring to turn out like Blinky the three-eyed fish
- if you get dumped, do not let go of your paddle (you will also need it to hold your balance on the wood trail)
- if you’re a daredevil, sit at the nose of the raft
- you may want to bring your own bike helmet (the helmets they provide are “one size fits all”, which was not the case for me. My helmet kept falling forward despite the strap; I resembled a little blind army ant. I couldn’t paddle well as I was continually distracted by my wandering helmet).
- work out! you need strong arms and shoulders to paddle well
- make sure your watch is water resistant