Rafting the White Salmon

Yesterday I went white water rafting on the White Salmon river. I’d already done it the year before, but it’s a fun trip, and I was with a lot of friends, so it was a guaranteed good time. We got up early and met nearby at 6 in the morning. Then we began the drive. I was in the front of the caravan of two cars. It was about a 2 1/2 hour drive there, and we covered the ground pretty quickly.

We watched some Futurama episodes in the car, which was fun. I have a PDA that I often bring with me onto which I put different episodes of shows. I can plug the headphone jack from the PDA into my car and listen to the episode using my car stereo. I also have some velcro on my dash so that I can put the PDA up over the gas guage. I have seen all of the episodes so many times that I don’t need to watch the video to know what’s going on, so I look at it about as often as I check the spedometer.

Anyway, we arrived at Wet Planet, the company that was guiding the raft trip. We put on our suntan lotion and wetsuits and headed up in a bus to the put in. There was very little that was spectacular about the trip. It was pretty, and I was frequently drenched (a consequence of sitting in the front) with very cold water. We got to a point where we had to stop and walk around a rapid. The water narrows significantly and goes through a small area that we can’t go over. Just after it goes over the falls, though, the water gets really deep, and the rock walls along the side are pretty high, so it’s perfect for cliff jumping. It’s only about a 20 foot jump, but it’s still intimidating. Nonetheless, I jumped and landed safely in the water and came up and was pulled aboard the raft with no problems.

At the end of the trip, there is a huge fall. We had to prepare for it a couple times before we got there, but once we went over it, we had no problem. Right after the fall is another small set of rapids. Our guide told us that frequently people celebrate just after the fall and then flip over the second set. We knew that and it didn’t trip us up. The second group after us, though, had a bit of a problem, and their boat flipped over. We managed to pick up a couple people and everyone was ok, but it was funny to watch them do exactly what our guide said could happen. The group after them also had some problems and a couple people fell out and only one made it back in. We grabbed the other one.

During the whole thing, a film crew for a German television station was with us. They had their fancy expensive cameras in clear dry-bags and they were filming us and themselves going down the river. So some time in October in Germany there will be footage of me and my friends rafting on the White Salmon. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the footage from them, and they were in a hurry to get out of there and didn’t want to talk to me, so I might never see the film they got.

After the rafting, we had a barbecue and ate hamburgers and chips. Then we headed out. We stopped by Stonehenge, which is a World War 1 memorial in Maryhill, which is an astronomically accurate concrete structure, then finished off the trip back home. On the way back, my odometer rolled over from 99999 to 100000. It’s a 2000 Neon, and I got it used with 18,900 miles on it, so they aren’t all mine, but I’ve certainly put a lot of mile on that car. It’s treated me well.

After we arrived at home, I had a quick nap and then went to a birthday party at a coworker’s condo. It was a great day.

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