Gauley River Rafting : West Virginia


Gauley River Rafting : West Virginia : New River Gorge.

Just had a grueling day and was trying to figure out what to post.  I began perusing some of my former posts and this one caught my eye.  Why?  Because it’s concerned with fun, carpe diem, optimism.  Which is exactly what I need these days.  I still get weird looks from people when I ask if they’d be game to go on the Fall Dam Release with me.  Ah, well.  I need something that makes me feel alive, and class V rapids definitely do that to me.

What is it about racing down the rushing river at blinding speeds that’s so alluring?  Is it the whitewater spraying you in the face to the point you need eyeball wipers to see?  Is it the surge of adrenaline that pumps through your veins when the the raft turns almost perpendicular as you ram up against the side of a house-sized boulder and all you can think is that you’re ticket’s about to be punched?  Is it the sudden wake-up call that rings your bell when your entire raft flips over and you find yourself underneath it wondering what happened to the sun?

Some would say engaging in such activities is tantamount to insanity.  Wouldn’t you have to be insane to voluntarily race down the rapid that’s quite aptly named “Pure Screaming Hell?”

Many people who know me would agree.  They would also agree with my insanity “condition” when I pipe up at a family get-together with, “So, who wants to go rafting with me this Fall?”  Yes, I get thrown out of the raft every time I try to conquer that particular rapid: Pure Screaming Hell.  I don’t know why, but that’s become my nemesis.  Yes, I’ve been underneath the freshly-flipped raft trying to find the nylon strap on the bottom of the boat to use as a guide to extricate myself from under it before I run out of air.  I’ve even been rafting in the snow.  (I found out the water was a lot warmer than the air that day!)

I’ve rafted this river several times and I’ve survived.  I’ve even rafted in a single-person raft and found myself flying over the rocks backwards because the boat wouldn’t listen to me and turn around before entering the rapid.  (Ok, so the boat wasn’t completely to blame, but who else do I have to accuse?)  Still, I survived.  And I want to do it again.  Why?

I must conquer Pure Screaming Hell.

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