Sunday, June 22, 2008

Whitewater!

I went whitewater rafting yesterday. I'd been looking forward to it with trepidation for a while and when the day came, I was up and out and ready to meet the strangers with whom (through Meetup.com) I'd be rafting with. We met at the corner of 86th Street and Central Park West at 8:30 am. Ouch. It was so early on a Saturday that I didn't even care that nearly all my compatriots were women who'd also never rafted before. We met up with our affable, smart, witty and loquacious host, R. and his lovely wife J. Then we, along with E., a wonderful young geneticist from Ft. Lauderdale, drove three hours (ugh!) to the Lehigh River in the Pennsylvania Poconos.

The cognac-colored river was beautiful, surrounded by high lush green hills. The weather was nearly perfect, if a tad warm. What I didn't like was the preponderance of people. I guess when they open the dam for one weekend (which allows for the whitewater) everyone turns up. Frat boys, kids, young couples, grizzled adventurers. Our group was likeable, heavily weighted to Asian women and definitely made for the best rafting team. The official leaders, who raft for a living in the summer and area ski instructors in the winter, were annoying: yelling like drill sargeants and attempting to be comedians at the same time.

There wasn't enough actual whitewater, but we did have moments of exhileration -- and dismay when our boat got stuck on rocks. We "saved" two men who had fallen into the rapids, which was cool. And we got drenched from passing boats and their water guns (not as cool). The paddling was fine but I overdid it (naturally) and now feel like I was run over by a Mack truck. Oh well. The problem with whitewater rafting is simply that it takes too long. Not the part on the river (that was 5 hours) but getting there and back. It makes sense -- the best (hardest) rivers are far, far away from NYC.

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