Defeating The Dark Lord and Conquering the Rapids

I went and saw.  I cried and cried. Inside the cinema.  Mostly because the story had concluded or at the time I was shedding tears, the story was reaching its climax.  It's sad when one thing comes to an end - even a joyful conclusion couldn't take the bitterness out of the fact that well there is no more.

However, the movie was indeed quite something.  How long was it?  I heard 3 hours.  It felt like 30 minutes to me.  The minutes flew by and when the credits were rolling I was like, that was it? 

I could have gone for more.  Still, the producers made one of the best Potter films here.  I wonder though if like LOTR this film would take in incredible amount of trophy at the Oscars.  What do you think?  Will the powers that be in the industry look kindly to the Potter series and see what well made films they were?  Or how successful they were and how incredible the story telling was? Or will they dismiss them as simply blockbuster movies aimed at kids? 

Needless to say I loved the movie.  There were minor things in the film that I would have loved to see expounded or further explored, but not having read any books I don't know if they were further explored in the book and shortened on the movie.  Those were minor. 

That was my Saturday. 

And here's how my Sunday went.  I mentioned in the previous post, which is a week ago that we were going to do some white water rafting.  We did.

We met at 7 am at my hubby's worksite, which is 2 minutes drive from home.  We swung by Starbucks first and bumped into one of the guys there also picking up some caffeine treat.

The decision was made to carpool.  Five people in our car and 7 on the SUV.  Twelve people in all.  When my husband was making reservations for this trip they were told that they have to have groups of 6 as 6 per raft is required.  More people wanted to go but not enough to complete 18.

The drive to Gold Country - the place were gold was found and mined in the 1800s here in California - took about 2 hours of scenic pastoral countryside.  We brought sandwiches, but apparently the people in the backseat all had breakfast.  It was a quick drive it seemed.

We arrived at the camp and was surprised to find that camping is allowed here.  The place was teeming with people. It seemed like a crowded Sunday on the river, but the air was festive, all buzzing with excitement.

Chunk - that's his name - approached us and told us to chill for a bit since the trip would commence at 10 am.  He pointed towards the direction of the river and said we could check it out while we wait instead of milling about our cars.

And so we did and found that there were tents up along the banks.  The water however was pretty chilly.  We were all looking at each other fearing it might be too cold if we found ourselves on the water instead of on the raft later.

The guys opened up some cold ones and decided to enjoy a can of brew before starting with the trip.  Then Chunk came around and told us to go to a spot where the life vests and helmets are located and that we should go and get ready for the trip.

There was mandatory talk and instructions given by Chunk.  He is the leader of this group.  It is a huge trip.  A lot of rafts went out that day. 

Anyway, we were shuttled to upriver by what look like prison bus. I was the first to notice it and then someone from our group said the same thing. 

About 15 minutes later, we were pulling up inside a park, like a regional park.  This was our launching station.  Chunk got in the bus and told us to use the facilities since there would be none along the river route. 

Back in the camp we were grouped into 7 and not 6 as we were previously told via phone.  Since the SUV contained 7 people they were boat 1.  There were 5 of us and we needed 2 more.  Luckily there was a couple that signed up for the trip without a group so we absorbed them.  Here lies some misunderstanding via phone registration.  Anyway, the couple, Jennifer and Neal were cool and easily blended with the group.

We were assigned to Derrick, blond, cute, hunky and dreadlocks.  He was also the funnest guide EVER!

The first two hours of rafting was like testing the waters.  There weren't any rapids in this part of the river.  We were simply rolling on the river on a lazy Sunday with temps in the 90s and the water below us was at most I'd say 60 F.  We played games while we were floating.  He would ask one to stand up and balance himself on the side of the raft ala Karate Kid.  We played more games.  He would push people randomly into the water to "cool off" he says.  All in good fun.  Our raft was always noisy full of laughter.

Then we stop for lunch.  Lunch consisted of burgers, chips, and fruits.  The guides prepared them.  There was a camp kitchen and all the guides manned different posts and started grilling and fixing lunch.  The burgers tasted really good in this environment.

Away from the water, we could feel the temperature had really risen.  Our skin burned where the sun kissed it.  It was up in the 90s for sure.  Luckily for me, it was dry heat.   The way I like my hot weather.

Our afternoon ride commenced soon after lunch was served.  This is the part of the trip where we would be conquering some rapids, the Satan Cesspool, the Hospital Bar, and one more that I can't remember now.

While we were rolling onto some smooth river water, our guide continued to give us some tips on what to do.  We would practice them on his cue so the next time it would come up we would know.

Just like this morning's ride, there was lots of water fights between boats.  In the morning run we were catching up with boat 1 where our friends are and would splash water onto them.  I drank lots of river water because I was in the line of fire whenever another boat would splash us with water.  There were lots of rafts on this day.  One contained many kids and they play splash with us.  The other guides would abduct people from one raft onto theirs.  It's called piracy, or pirating here.  What fun.  The kids on the other hand would yell at our raft and say, TAKE ME!.  We took 2 kids and kept them for a while.

Now to the rapids.  Well, they were more manageable than I ever imagined.  They were big, but not big as I've feared.  Probably because this was a run for beginners as well as experienced rafters.  With all the kids in this trip, I'm sure they wouldn't allow them if this run was dangerous, right?

Anyway, 2 of our friends were thrown out of their boat when they shot the rapids.  We all laughed at how they could have done that.  Anyway that is a possiblity.

All in all the day of rafting was fun.  Three rapids and all successfully conquered by us.  We have pictures to support this claim. 

However, I had the fright of my life when Derrick suggested we play another game that afternoon.  All of us would rise up and stand around the boat and lean back as far as possible.  The object is to fall back into the river with the raft floating empty and we'll all go swim back to the raft.

There is one hitch. I don't swim.  My husband doesn't swim.  Sokny doesn't swim.  The minute I landed on the water I panicked.  Water was coming into my mouth but surprisingly I was floating, just like Derrick said.  The vests are designed to make you float.  And then my husband reached up and grabbed my hand and hand in hand we floated on the river on our backs and from that position I could see our group starting to go into the raft.  We floated quite a bit and then when the raft came close to us we got pulled up into the raft.  That was scary but fun as well.  The cold water took away the 90-degree heat.

That was one heck of a trip. 

Later back in the camp with our dry clothes on, the people on the other boat told us that we were the party boat.  We were continously laughing and having fun and our guide was very cool and super fun, unlike theirs who only lecture about the river :)

Before heading back to the Bay Area, we stopped to get some brew and chow at a local dive next to the photo place where we could order our shots.  I'll show this adventure on my photo blog one of these days.

All in all it was one heck of a weekend. 

Comments

the scud said…
i miss white water rafting. wishing i could experience that all over again. :D

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