Sunday, January 11, 2009

Beginner’s Luck

My wife and I started rafting in the usual way. A friend named Drew Patterson invited us to float the Upper Clackamas with him. With not the slightest idea what that meant, we put total trust in Drew, assuming that he wouldn’t do it if there was a significant risk. We did a short float that included the Toilet Bowl, Fish Creek Rapid, Lockaby Chute, and Carter Bridge Rapid. Jackie (my wife du jour) and I wore our wetsuits, which provided as much buoyancy as a life jacket. The “collar” style life vests we had along were used for kneeling cushions.

We made the trip without incident and had a really good time. Our second rafting adventure was in the same yellow 6-man raft, but on the Sandy River. Drew’s wife, Leanne, was along, and she actually wore her life vest—she was a non-swimmer. The other three life vests were used again for knee cushions. We blundered into a hole at the end of a rapid, and everyone except Leanne got ejected into the river. The only one who stayed in the raft was the one wearing the life vest. She was stuck in the reversal, helpless and terrified, until I got into the water upstream and swam down in my wetsuit and grabbed the raft as I went past.


  1. Leanne probably thanked you a lot! If that was her first time, then she probably had a simple heart attack. No, just kiddin'. Did you go rafting again? You probably did 'cause those circumstances are normal in rafting. You just gotta be prepared. ;)

    -David Deland