Crew 3’s ‘Epic Western Expedition’ – Yes It Was: Day 2
Venture Crew 3 got up early Sunday morning to hit the road for a pretty long drive into New Mexico, uncharted territory for me for the most part. I did take a train ride to Colorado when I was a little kid but I barely remember any of it, so, therefore, it doesn't count. Today, we're going whitewater rafting!
We had a 4 1/2 hour trip ahead of us and needed to be at the New Mexico boat ramp located on the Rio Grande river, yes, that Rio Grande, by 1 PM when we ran into a little snag, a tire issue on the van. Early on a Sunday morning in what seemed like the middle of nowhere and now we have to find a tire place? We did! Go figure!
After many wee breaks and getting a new tire, we finally made it to our destination located about an hour north of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
I must admit to having some major butterflies over this, I'm a big guy and I was quite concerned about how cold the water was going to be when I caused the raft to flip and everyone in it to go swimming. We were lucky though, our raft did not flip and most of us did not go swimming. If you look closely though you might notice in the picture up top that two of us have a bit of a "drowned rat" look, allow me to explain; After we successfully made it through the most treacherous part of the "racecourse," a class 4 drop that would make most people... pucker, there were two rafts that didn't make it through and the people on those rafts were scattered about trying not to drown. Well, we made our first attempt to paddle across the river and rescue two ladies clinging to rocks on the other side, that's when the river tried to swallow our raft! The river sucked the right front corner of our raft downward, all of us naturally leaned in that direction and my son Tyler went over backwards off the boat! DOH! Another of our Scouts, Matt-man, stuck his paddle in the water, Tyler grabbed it and three of us hauled Tyler back into the boat. Tyler says the water was very cold by the way. Even though we had all been soaked by the river several times during this adventure, it's not quite the same as being dunked.
I found out just how cold it was too, not during a gallant water rescue attempt, I got dunked simply trying to exit the boat when the whole thing was over! Lost my balance, tub-o-lard. That was funny y'all... and cold!
Our guides from Kokopelli Rafting Adventures were awesome, we had the most amazing time ever, my only complaint about this adventure was the photographers that normally get great action shots of your group on the river, it's a different company, apparently decided to leave just as it was our turn to go! So we have zero pictures of our Crew fighting the mighty Rio Grande, or even me tunking at the end. Sad I know, we would have bought a bunch of those shots.
We stayed the night in a camping area in a canyon near the river much to the dismay of some parents and girlfriends because there was no cell service down there at all.
The picture above is where 2 out of the 6 rafts in our group got dumped and water rescues had to be performed. It's hard to imagine but I may now be an adrenalin junky, at my age, probably not a good idea huh?
Day 2 was a wild one, day 3 would prove to be far tamer. Onward to Arizona!