It was a morning like any other, except I was in a zodiac on a river. This is where I found myself after about an hour of signing legal “promise you won’t sue us if you die” paperwork. It was nice. A summer day, already about 80 degrees. Eagles were soaring overhead, “Caw! Caw!”. I’m not sure why they sounded like Crows. Just go with it. Five of my co-workers and myself were taking a whitewater adventure before we had to work on a business project. I’ve floated all my life in tubes, canoes, kayaks, so I was having a great time. One thing was a small annoyance. The stitching at the nose of the zodiac left about a three inch diameter hole. I was in the front. Every time we hit a small rapid, a tube..yes tube of water would hit me square in the face. Imagine the weird water face thing from the movie “The Abyss” except this one was head butting me. We were on the Arkansas River and the water was snow melt. Needless to say, it was quite chilly. It made me gasp every time for about the first hour, then my head completely numbed up and I was fine. We floated, went through some small rapids and stopped for lunch.
We finished lunch. I could tell there was a change in tone from our guide as he handed us helmets and said, “We should go now.” We climbed in the zodiac and the last thing he said as we pushed off was, “…and remember, YOU are ultimately responsible for your own rescue.” I thought, “Are my affairs in order?” Eagles overhead, “Caw! Caw!”, We were headed towards Royal Gorge, and the rapids we getting progressively
scarier more challenging. I was having a blast along with a couple of the other guys. Two were not enjoying it as much, unless they enjoyed living nightmares. I assumed they didn’t at the time. So they were…not amused. We were almost through all the named rapids, and there were some monsters, we found one quite a bit larger. I was in front, and when we went down in to the “trough”, I saw nothing in front of me but angry water. Well, disgruntled water at the very least. No sky, just water. It crashed down on top of my buddy and I and knocked the wind out of both of us, but we remained in the boat. Never get out of the boat. The rapid bent the zodiac in half so to speak, and when it released the stored energy I saw the 2 guys not having so much fun being launched through the air. The expression on their faces seemed to indicate this was not improving their mood. Again, just a judgement call. Luckily, it was at the end of the rapid and there was a pool following. One of the guys was really wanting in the boat. He was a stout man, but we managed to pull him in. The look on his face was what I imagine someone rescued from a deserted island after 20 years would have. The other guy was just bobbing up and down, looking around. Classic tourist. We had to get his attention. He acted interrupted. We pulled him back in to the raft. Two guys, two experiences.
We left and headed towards the hotel. My boss had a new Garmin and wanted to use it. He selected “shortest route, all roads”. We ended up on fire trails deep in the Rocky Mountains. I’ll save that for another time. We told our boss when we were back in the office. She told us, “Next time risk your lives after the DR Test, you morons.” Why she is one of my all time favorite bosses.