Wednesday, May 12, 2010
(From the true adventure files.)
Last Friday, a friend from work and I treated ourselves to a fishing trip. We even hired a guide. A float trip down a remote section of the Pennsylvania Lehigh River.... Lovely! Part fishing and part white water rafting.
Not too long into the trip, our guide was deftly navigating the small, inflatable pontoon boat through the first serious rapid. He paddled while we sat on either end on fishing chairs (fly fishing, BTW). He had it made in the shade until the speed got away from him just enough to catch a boulder. We got rammed against it. Stuck.
Now, moving water is serious business. The immense pressure immediately sank half the boat.
So there we were, flowing water rushing over our feet, and the boat is crunched against a rock in deep water. Time to put the thinking caps on, no?
The guide asked me to climb out, and after some careful maneuvering, we were perched like two goofy birds on a rock in the middle of the river.
Here's where some communication might have been helpful.
Without too much trouble, we pushed the boat off the rock. But I didn't know what he was planning. Since his body was basically the fulcrum, the boat began swinging away from me.
In the next 1.0 seconds, the following thoughts shot through my head:
1. This water is dangerous. I don't want to go in wearing gear. With or without a meager life vest, drowning is not out of the question.
2. If the boat leaves without me (and the guide), we have no real choice but to go into the water.
3. See #1.
So what was my solution when the buzzer rang?
I did a do-or-die leap for the promised land. And I made it.
I had a split second to enjoy my landing before my momentum smashed my nose into a piece of frame designed to brace you when standing up.
I collapsed back into the chair pretty fogged out and in a substantial amount of pain.
But, it wasn't over. The guide now had his own decision to make. My leap pushed the boat even farther away from him.
And he made it too. For a second.
Then, he slipped in.
Later, he thanked me for my lunge to grab him. It really didn't do much good, because despite my handful of his life jacket, the damage was already done. He was swimming at the side of the boat. But it was the spirit of the thing, I guess. Pain or not, you can't just let the guy fall in, right??
He told me to let go, and he began to swim to the back of the boat to climb up.
Now we were free and whisking down the river. I returned to my chair and concentrated again on my face. That's when I noticed the thick, massive red drops splashing on my legs. Oh great. I was bleeding like a mutha.
"Do you have a towel or something?" I said politely as I held the bridge of my nose.
The guide flopped back in the boat not knowing that I had just bled all down his back while I stood over him.
His face was priceless as he turned and saw me doing my Carrie impression.
It was a gusher.
A handful of soaked tissues later, my friend observed, "combat fishing."
Yes, indeed. It was a pretty good day.
I'm ready for my next adventure. At least I didn't break anything.