Ready to make a splash this summer
April E. Clark
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Living in a valley where rivers are all around me, I anticipate rafting season like a child waiting in line to meet Mickey Mouse.
Except in this case, Mickey’s waiting with a bucket of water to throw at my face.
I wonder how heavy his shoes get when they’re wet. …
Here in Glenwood Springs, we’re lucky enough to have the Colorado, Roaring Fork and Crystal rivers as our stomping grounds. Or, should I say, wading? For river rats like me, watching the snow melt and the water rise triggers a reaction like Pavlov’s dog.
I try to keep the drooling to a minimum.
Sunday was my first day of the season on the river, and the tell-tale signs were all there. My white legs, hidden for months under ski pants and jeans, made their pasty premier. My triceps lacked the definition a summer of paddling on the river affords. Add a bikini to the mix and all I can say is I need to add some minutes to my Wii Fit workouts.
I can’t sneak anything past that machine.
Returning to the river after skiing all winter is just like riding a bike. Once you learn how to dig, it stays with you forever. Bulking up my triceps wouldn’t hurt. Performance-enhancing drugs will probably do the trick, but I don’t really need any more facial hair in my life. Plus the deepened voice and paranoid jealousy are serious relationship dealbreakers.
I think I’ll pull a Popeye and stick with spinach.
We took our inaugural run of the season from Grizzly Creek down to South Canyon. Rafting this stretch of the Colorado River during high water has a pleasant mix of rapids. Nothing too crazy, until we hit the wave in the new Glenwood Springs Whitewater Park. This thing is more fun than a Twister board covered in Crisco oil.
With less saturated fat.
Before we hit the wave, I had the chance to captain the boat for a while. I’m pretty sure this made Liz and Kendra very nervous, but luckily Barry was there to coach me along the way. The look on Liz’s face was priceless as we neared the wave and Barry suggested I continue to captain the boat.
That would top the list of rafting carnage videos on Google.
Luckily for our crew, Barry took the helm as we hit the wave “right down the pica,” as an old rafting friend of mine would say. It was quite the drop into a wave that soaked us like an afternoon rain storm on Sopris. My adrenaline was running so high, I felt like I could do anything in the world. I could swim the English Channel. Give birth to 12 babies. Maybe even run for president.
Who needs performance-enhancing drugs when I get such a natural boost from whitewater?
I wasn’t always so comfortable in and around water, though. I nearly drowned in a swimming pool in Florida when I was 6. I didn’t learn to swim until I was 14. And I still can’t dive into a pool to save my life. For whatever reason, the concept of my head going first into water does not click with me. At least I’ve got the Cannonball down to a science.
I’m really into making a splash.
All summer long.
April E. Clark is the proud new co-owner of a 12-foot raft better known as The Piehole. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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