Tuesday, June 17, 2008

River Magic

When I have read on my shampoo bottle the instructions, "lather, rinse, repeat if necessary," I have occasionally wondered when it would actually be necessary. The answer is when you have done nothing but a quick rinse in 54-degree sandy river water for four days.

So. I did it. I do have enough mosquito bites to make me look like I made it to the end of Survivor, but I'm otherwise unscathed and pretty proud of myself for doing it. The kids had a blast. We ended up having just one other family of five on our trip--a father, son, and three teenage grandsons. I was not thrilled about the idea of traveling with them upon first meeting them, and I was ready to open up a can of whoop-ass when I heard them discussing flipping a coin to see who would have to ride with Annamarie. (I may have mentioned here that she can be very chatty.) I clearly misjudged them, and they were all as nice as they could be. They were actually very patient with Annamarie, who developed a bit of a crush on the 17-year-old, and Thomas got to experience some major outdoorsy male bonding.

I'm sure you're dying to know what a day in camp was like. We got up at 6:15 for coffee, took down our cots, packed up our stuff while our fabulous guides cooked us breakfast, and were on the river by 8:00. We rafted for 4-6 hours, maybe stopped for a short hike and lunch, and reached our camp in mid afternoon. The kids got several chances to row and loved the rapids. In this video, Annamarie is laughing mostly because Ron and I were getting doused regularly with freezing water.

When we reached our campsite for the evening, we unloaded the boats, set up our cots, and had a little time to relax before dinner. Or to hike to "the groover," our loo with a view.

I seriously won't miss the groover. The guides brought games, including Qoob, which the kids spent hours playing.

You'll notice they're wearing jackets. It was 40 degrees F at night, and we slept on cots under the stars. {At home we keep flannel sheets on the bed year-round, and my side of the bed has a heated mattress pad. We keep the thermostat at 72.) I slept in my jeans, a t-shirt, a long-sleeved shirt, and a fleece.

Those stars we slept under made the whole trip worth it. Early in the evening the moon was nearly as bright as daylight, and after it set a million stars blinked on. Ron and I woke up at 4 one morning and lay there listening to the rapids just above our campsite and gazing up at the Milky Way. There were so many stars visible that it was hard to pick out constellations.

The meals cooked by our guides were seriously some of the best we've had since leaving home. We had french toast, eggs, bacon, fresh fruit for breakfast; steak, bbq chicken, spaghetti, for dinner--oh, and hors d'oeuvres: shrimp cocktail, crab dip, and nachos. On a camping trip! And I didn't have to cook any of it or clean the mess up, which made it that much more delicious.

If you want an outdoor vacation your family will never forget we highly recommend Western River Expeditions. I'm thrilled that I did it, and equally thrilled to be back to civilization.

1 comment:

Michelle StClair said...

You are woman. Hear you freakin roar!!!!!!!!!!!! I almost start to hyperventilate reading about this....this is way beyond roughing it....