Stayin' wet and keepin' cool by Leah Jean
|Jeff, thanx for answering Janell back because this is the first time I've been on Rosenose since my last message. And to tell the truth, I didn't have that address.
Hey Janell, if you think that kayaking is "fun", keep reading. ;)
Yes, we have a crazy group at work that just loves being adventurous. [2 of the women are pretty serious long distance runners and one other guy is a wannabe. 4 own their own kayaks.] Last weekend we went white water rafting up in the Pennsylvania mountains. The weather was good (70s) and the area very scenic. [Okay, we got lightly showered on once for about 15 minutes. But we were pretty soaked most of the time anyway, so who cared?] The 3 hr. + drive up was a pain though since it was up and down some pretty good mountains and very twisty in spots. But it was never boring. Fortunately lots of roads had that little extra lane that appeared for the serious climbs and big trucks. Took those a lot with my little 4 cylinder Honda SUV so I didn't have to mash down on the pedal to keep up with the other vehicles.
The others drove up that morning and then drove back the same day. [Ugh!] I went up the day before because I wanted to tour a famous Frank Lloyd Wright home called "Falling Water". It was built for a very rich family; they owned the store chain that was bought out by Macy's. And the house is in a beautifully wooded valley right on a stream with a small waterfall right below it. The only drawback being that it was very humid and the house was not air conditioned (they didn't have it back then). And I'm talking right over the stream! The living room has horizontal glass doors that you can open to take stairs down into the stream. The guide joked that you could fish while being in the house ... but it was not that big of a stream with only minnows from what I could tell. If you want to read about and see some beutiful pictures of the house, go to their web site "fallingwater.org". It cost $22 to take the basic tour but it was well worth it.
As to the rafting itself, it was wild! The group from work love to laugh so we had a good time. We paid extra to have a guide in our boat and he was a good natured and hard working young man. The water was usually pretty easy to negotiate but there were a few spots that were quite rough. [We were required to wear helmets and lifejackets that had special head guards in the back.] For those of you who know about whitewater rafting it was mainly up to category 3 rapids and a few 4s. The 4s were rough though for our level of experience! [Most of us in our little group had only had limited experience whitewater rafting before except for one guy.] On coming into a narrow opening between some very large boulders, we smacked sideways into one of the boulders too hard and it caused the corner of our raft to bend up. One of the women and our guide got tossed out. Unfortunately Lizi probably hit that boulder because she was pretty shaken up and had some good bruises and scrape on her leg and thigh! But she is a long distance runner so she's no wimp. Also the water was pretty cold being in the lower 60s so that alone was a bit of a shock when you fell in. Fortunately we had accompanying guides in kayaks waiting at the bottom of tough rapids waiting to "escort swimmers" to shore (swimmers would grab onto the boats and get towed to shore). Since our raft was the first to make it through the one really rough part, we stood on the shore to help grab boats or people as they they were guided in. Some guides stood on the shore and tossed lines to people who fell out. These guides (several men and one woman) definitely had their work cut out for them! Our group got to watch as other rafts dumped all or most of their people coming through that one rough spot! I watched 2 rafts almost completely dump their people and someone later said that a 3rd raft also got turned over.
Also rafts periodically got stuck on rocks. It was pretty comical though because the cure was to get to one side of the raft away from the rock, if possible, and then jump up and down. This was not a trip for people who had trouble with getting up close and personal with others because you could easily end up all piled on one another as the rafts shifted around in the water. But not minding being up close and personal was good sometimes because you could end up with additional people in your raft who were picked up out of the water (tossed out of their raft). One poor young woman that we picked up had her teeth chattering terribly. [But then you weren't sure if they weren't a little in shock after being tossed into the cold water and maybe running into a rock.] This was not an experience for the faint of heart. But you were usually too busy trying to row or keep your balance in those bobbing and twisting rafts to be scared most of the time! :)
The main guide did warn you before doing the trip though that people had been killed over the years. They wanted to make sure you understood and got out if you had any qualms. But the guy also said that it was more dangerous driving up to the location then actually being on (in?) the water. Probably because the smaller roads you had to take to get there were very twisty and turny and up and down.
After getting back a couple of our group wanted to go back to the same river later but do the "upper" part of it that was even rougher. The rest of us said "no!" So we are planning on a trip to a smoother closer river within Maryland next. :) I think being in the car for over 6 hours also took its toll on the others. Plus it was raining a good portion of the way back and it was dark for the last hour or so of driving. Definitely not fun after expending all of your energy rowing, sometimes swiming, and then carrying those rafts too and from the water.
No bruises here!