Before I get started, let’s take a moment to view this little video I posted on Facebook to give a preview of this post a few weeks ago.
So let’s start from the beginning.
My sister was driving from Michigan down to Florida. Our dad lives a little north of Atlanta, and she thought it would be fun to meet in Georgia to do some outdoor festivities. I was the first to get to the Peach State to venture around and I got to have dinner with my dad. My sister, Katie, got to my dad’s house later that night, followed by my Tim and Brittany (my brother and his lovely girlfriend) who got there in the wee hours of Saturday morning.
My dad lives an hour or so from Tennessee so we geared up, packed into the car, and headed out before the sun was out.
Can we take a minute to appreciate the look on my dad’s face.
He’s ready to go and HE is the captain of this raft.
When we got to Raft1, we checked in and waited for our names to be called. We had signed our waivers online prior to getting there. Usually in a waiver you see a lot of fine print. Yeah, not when white water rafting. They put the “possibility of injury, disability, or death” in bold print. Haha! I mean, they have to cover all their liability issues, right?
Once roll call was checked off the list, we went to a school bus with other people and was shuttled to one of the Upper Ocoee Riverwater Rafting section. When we first got there, we were given a quick rafting 101 session with our guide. The guide told us the basics: how to paddle, when to paddle, and what to do if we got thrown off the raft. Then we carried the raft to the starting point and braced ourselves for what was to come.
The first two minutes when we hit the rapids a lot happened. Let me give you some white water rafting basics (look at me talking like I just know everything. Haha!).
To keep your balance, you want to lock your feet between the seat in front of you and the side of the raft. Now balance and me are not in good terms. So, I wanted to make sure I had my balance so that I didn’t get thrown from this raft and plunge to my death. So I jammed my feet into the creases of the raft. It just so happened that a zipper was where I locked in my foot, so almost half of my toenail got clipped off.
So it started out painful.
While I’m trying to figure out why there’s a piercing pain in my toe, Brittany’s paddle flew from her hands and we’re in the midst of rapids after rapids. So we have a guide yelling commands on how we are to paddle while we have Brittany trying to catch a paddle that is clearly nowhere close to arms length. After we made it past the rapids, the guide moved the raft to where we could grab the paddle as it made its way down the rapids. So all was well.
Well, with the exception of the blood coming from my toe.
I was so upset that my the video that captured those moments on my GoPro were “damaged.” I mean, come on now! It would have been priceless footage.
During the five miles, the guides pulled to the side of the river and got to explore some secluded wilderness or swim in the calm parts of river. In the river there would be large rocks that we’d navigate around.
Please excuse the picture quality. My little GoPro did its best 😉
At one point, Raft1 made a DIY water slide. One of the rafts had the passengers get off the raft and stand on one of the rocks. Then they flipped the raft, which made a slide. This is when one of my most embarrassing moments took place. We were supposed to get a running head start prior to jumping and sliding off the raft into the water. Well, me being a scaredy-pants, didn’t get a running start in fear of slipping off the rock. So when I got on the slide there was no sliding. I just didn’t move. Haha! I then proceeded to drag myself down he slide into the water. Not one of my finest moments. That video was the other footage that was “damaged” and I wasn’t very torn up at that.
One of the most memorable moments was watching my brother “riding the bull.” That entailed him sitting at the front center of the raft during some rapids. He was supposed to straddle a rope at the center of the raft. Well, unfortunately, Tim misinterpreted what to straddle and ended up straddling the raft with one foot in the raft and one foot in the river. Before you know it, we’re going down some rapids and Tim falls over! Now, with rapids it’s not like you can just pump the breaks. You’re still going forward. So as the guide is still trying to navigate the raft so we would not hit any rocks and telling us how to paddle, Brittany is trying to hold on to Tim’s hands to keep him from going under the raft. During all of this fast paced chaos, my family apparently deals with stress in a humorous way. Katie and me are dying laughing, yet we were terrified for Tim, but I still manage to yell out “Never let go, Jack!”
Eventually, Brittany loses her grip and Tim gets run over by the raft. I may have felt him bopping up under the raft as we were propelling forward. Then the rapids are over. We’re all in the raft looking back for Tim and finally see him bop out of the water and you hear all four of us “TOES TO NOSE! TOES TO NOSE!” It was one of the safety procedures they told us before: If you get thrown from the raft bring your toes to your nose to keep afloat. Then the river bends and Tim was out of sight.
What was even better, this was when Raft1 had someone taking pictures while we were on the river. Apparently our family picture consisted of everyone looking behind us (looking for Tim). In one of the other family photos, there’s a picture full of confused girls looking at this tall brunette guy in their raft.
So, good news, Tim got rescued by a bunch of girl scouts.
After that craziness, it was smooth sailing.
No big life endangering moments.
We got to the end, boarded the school bus, and headed back to our cars.
After 3 hours on the river, to say we were hungry was an understatement.
We hunted down a restaurant in Copperhill, Tennessee that was a mere ten minutes away.
After lunch we decided to explore the small town in Polk County.
The small, quaint shops were full of homemade quilts, yummy honey and fudge.
And then we hit the road back to Georgia.
I have one last adventure to share with y’all!
Yep, we’re not done just yet! 😉