“The best things in life are unexpected – because there were no expectations.” – Eli Khamarov
(Lessons I wish I learned before my first time water rafting in the PNW! …with a bit of satire :)
1. Wetsuits are sexy. Embrace them, even under the beaming summer sun. I wrinkled my nose at first, but that glacier water was real! And lose the cotton – they’ll insist that you take it off if you want the suit to work its magic.
2. Pay attention during briefing. You will want to know how you’ll be saved if you go overboard. And that big guy thrice everyone’s size? Someone has to save him.
3. Forget about getting a nice tan. Even if you don’t wear the suit, you will be wearing that life vest. In fact, bring the sunscreen. Because while wetsuits are sexy, vest and shoe tan-lines are not.
4. Bring shoes that will stay on your feet. No, girl! Not the cute sandals! You might have to walk your raft around a dam and wishing you listened to me when your feet are slipping-n-sliding while walking on the rocky river bank.
5. Bring water. Preferably a bottle you can hook onto the raft. You know the ones with a carabiner on the lid? Google it! You’ll know what I’m talking about. You’ll be so thirsty, and see all that water around you? Yeah, you won’t exactly be able to drink it.
6. Bring snacks. A couple of hours into rafting, you’re going to start craving a steak. In fact, pack a steak in a Ziploc bag. Our raft guide did. I was salivating and felt like the dog in the movie UP! – “SQUIRREL?!”
7. Bring water. No, seriously. We didn’t. We thought the bottle would bounce off the raft, or something crazy like that. Um, no. Bring that water! There’s plenty loops to secure a few things on the raft. Thank goodness our guide was awesome enough to share his gallon…and a nutri-bar…but not that steak.
8. You will get wet. Accept it. Otherwise, you might want to try a river float instead. Not as fun. Obviously.
9. Be adventurous. You might get to do this…
But you might also end up like this…
10. Fanny packs are cool. Mine kept my SPF chapstick and ID nice and safe from all this water. But I regret not packing a steak.
11. Hats are even cooler. On a hot summer day, your head will appreciate the protection, and your body will thank you for not putting it through extra dehydration. It also beats having to wear loose glasses.
12. A head strap is probably a better choice for your GoPro. We had a chest mount, but it makes it difficult for your raft mates to pull you back into the raft after you YEE-HAWED your way overboard.
13. Go TEAM or Go HOME. If you and your raft mates do not paddle in unison as a team, your 1000+ lb. raft is going nowhere except into a whirl of white water, spinning 360 degrees!
You should also know your left from your right for when your guide instructs each side to paddle forward vs backward, at the same time, to turn the raft one way or the other. Did you even understand what I just said? Yeah, well try deciphering these instructions during the above-mentioned whirl of white water…
15. Make friends…Because if you make enemies, your ass will probably end up down river. And I’m not jumping after you. I don’t swim…remember? Plus, nobody wants a boring boat!
HAHA! And with that being said, my first white water rafting experience was so much fun! My boyfriend and I had only talked about trying it out, but every summer went by without us getting around to doing so. My sorority sister texted me at 11PM the night before, with an extra Groupon for two, plus lunch included…so heck yeah we said YES!
And let me remind you that this was during my birthday weekend. We were sitting at the beach with a bon fire ‘til 3 o’clock in the morning (blog post here), but that didn’t stop us from rafting the following day and traveling all the way to Leavenworth for some paddle action. The Leavenworth Outdoor Center and the Wenatchee river treated us all mighty fine! Thank you!! =)
Cheers to the unexpected plans! The memories created! And the lifelong family and friends to share those experiences with!
When was the last time you took somebody’s offer into doing something completely unexpected and adventurous?
Get out there!!
Love and Adventure,
PS: Hope everyone stays safe during the wildfires out there! Love you all! … Also, all non-GoPro photos are courtesy of riverbooty.com. They were able to capture some pretty great boat shots of us rafting down the river.