Monday, July 6, 2009

I've corrupted the Yute

I'm a second-generation river rat. My dad went on a Colorado Grand Canyon river trip in his early 20's and was bitten by the river bug so badly that he became a river guide. That is, in fact, where he met my mother, who was a passenger on one of his trips.

In my teens and 20's, he took me and my siblings on many week-long river trips, one of which was Cataract Canyon, a section of the Colorado River that kills a few people every year because it's so big and nasty. On that trip, the boat I was in flipped and we went through two of the biggest rapids in our lifejackets. The boatman cursed, the two other girls in the boat cried, and I laughed like a lunatic that I got to experience being eaten by the biggest whitewater in the U.S. Everybody's got some crazy in them, and this is mine. I LOVE BIG WATER.
(*I do not claim this is my ONLY crazy, smartasses.)

My dad, who I call the Dread Pirate, now lives 10 minutes away from me, and he spends his summers in a blissful gauntlet of one river trip after another. Last summer, he took me, my husband and his best friend Dan on the Clark Fork River in Montana. Here are some highlights.

Dan looks worried. He knows we're a little nuts when it comes to dangerous fun. My husband Barry is the big, white, almost transparent one.

Here we are approaching the rapid called Tumbleweed, aptly named, as it turns out.

Yeah, baby.

The disembodied ghost hand.

And there is my foot, as I was unceremoniously yanked right out of the boat. I was hanging on TIGHT. And the hands of a massage therapist are not weak.

They didn't even realize I was gone. I had to say flatly, from in the water, "I'm out. Of the boat."

That trip last summer was fun.

The Dread Pirate has told my seven-year-old daughter, who keeps asking when she can go rafting, that she is ready for whitewater when he can throw her into any body of water and she comes up laughing. Well, that kid has been in the pool, the lake, and the Spokane River every day since school got out, no matter how cold the water, so last week when we went camping and rafting on the Salmon River, my dad invited her to come with us. The rapids on the Salmon are no joke. At times, her eyes were so big they took up half her face. When we were done, she said, "Again."

Notice her little arms holding onto the boat for dear life. Haha.

Faith's first river trip, thumbs up.

She wanted to try rowing. The Dread Pirate almost burst with joy.

Faith's second trip, the next day. Bigger water, still smiling.

I asked her at one point if she really liked it, and her response was "Har har har! Bring it on!" The corruption of the yute is compete.


  1. You are SO. COOL. Wow!! First off, the Dread Pirate is kind of hot. Sorry, I know he's your dad and all but... it's true. ;)

    Secondly, I'm so scared of rapids that this whole post made me white-knuckled just looking at it! You are brave!!

    Third, have you ever read Pam Houston? I think you'd like her - she's a fellow-white water adventurer.

  2. Haha, thanks Bev. The Dread Pirate would blush furiously if I showed him what you wrote. I'll have to check out Pam Houston, thanks!

  3. The foot pic is hilarious. It's like the mast of a sinking ship waving goodbye as it disappears beneath the water forever.

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