Updated: Jul 14, 2018
During Labor Day weekend, my family and I went whitewater rafting in the Poconos in Pennsylvania. I was so excited! When we got there, I couldn’t wait to start rafting. After my family and I had got our life vests, we sat down near picnic tables to listen to how to whitewater raft, properly. As we were listening, a guide came over to us and advised my mom to do the intermediate adventure instead of the extreme. My mom nodded. The guide left. After a few minutes, another guide came to tell my mom to go to the intermediate level again! After the second guide left, another one came! Finally, the third guide left! My family and I turned our attention back to the guide teaching us how to raft. The guide said that if someone fell out of the boat, they shouldn’t try to stand up. Otherwise, their feet might get caught in the rocks! Instead, they should just hold on to their paddle and swim. The people on the raft could try to help by sticking out an oar for the person in the water to grab. Once the person in the water had grabbed on, the people on the raft with the oar should start pulling. Then, when the person in the water was close enough to the raft, he/she should flop like a fish onto the raft and get in. After the guide had finished explaining, everyone got up and got ready to get on the bus that would take us to the river. My parents got into an argument as we waited in line to get on the bus. My mom said that we should go on the intermediate level adventure. She said that the guides had experience and that they knew that kids would not like the extreme level. My dad said that we would be fine. In the end we boarded the bus to the extreme level.
The bus was stuffy and the chatter of the people was loud. I thought about how tired I would be when I finished. The trip was five hours long in the water! Finally, we arrived at the river. It rushed by us pretty fast. Wearing our water shoes, my family and I waded into the river. As I put my foot in for the first time, I shivered. It was freezing! Finally, after a few more tentative steps, I got used to the water. It felt cool. Like a lemonade or a jump into the pool on hot summer’s day. We waded out to where our bright orange raft was waiting. Struggling against the current, I scrambled into the raft. The guide let go of the raft, and we were off!
In the beginning, it was hard to keep the boat going in one direction. My mom and I paddled on the right, my dad and my brother paddled on the left. But after a while, we got used to it and our raft glided smoothly on the glassy surface of the river. It was reasonably calm now, with a few occasional bumps. But up ahead, I heard screams and shouts, and the running of water. I paddled faster. Once we got close enough, we saw that it was our first white water.
We moved towards the white water. And suddenly in front of us I saw a wave. The boat rocked violently and I shouted “Yahoo!!” My mom yelled: “Make sure your feet are under the seat!” In the beginning, the guide told us to jam our feet under the seat in front of us. This way we wouldn’t fall out of the raft as easily. More and more waves rocked our small boat. I felt like I could do hours of this ! (In fact, I had to do five hours more.) But unfortunately, a lot of the time, it was calm.
After a long time of calm paddling, I heard water running ahead again. This time as we neared the white water, I saw that this was more violent than the ones before. “Turn!” my dad yelled over the sound of the roaring water. I paddled harder. But it was too late. With a sickening thud, we hit a huge rock in front of us. I watched the water go racing past us. My family and I shook the boat as hard as we could and then there was a scraping noise, and our raft began to move again. We cheered!
After a few hours of this I heard a huge noise like a roar of a monster. This white water was the biggest one yet. As we shot towards the whitewater, the raft flew over a rock and shook me so that I was thrown back into my brother. As I quickly sat up again, we were rocketing down the river at a breakneck speed. A few seconds later, we crashed into a rock, and I lurched forwards in my seat. This jerked me so fast that I let go of my oar for a second, then I dived after it, as it began to slide off the side of the raft. I had just grabbed onto the tip of my oar when the boat began spinning around from the impact of the crash with the rock. I tried to straighten myself up, but another crash startled me. We were stuck under one of the small waterfalls! Water began to fill the boat rapidly. I sat up and my family and I began to paddle furiously. It was no use, water flowed in faster and the water was already almost to my knees! I began to panic. Suddenly, a huge crash nearly threw me out of the raft! Another raft had hit us and the impact had loosened us from the rock! “Thanks!” I shouted as we went spinning down the river.
After that, there weren’t many violent “waterfalls”. But ahead, I saw a place where there were rocks scattered everywhere along the river. “Rock on the right!” I yelled. We all paddled as fast as we could and finally, we shot pass it, just a few inches away. I let out a deep breath of relief. But not for long! More and more rocks blocked our way. My throat was hoarse from yelling “Turn right! Watch out! Rock on the left!” Suddenly my mom shouted “Rock ahead!” I looked and there it was, a rock looming in front of us. I paddled harder. There was a loud thud, and I was thrown off balance. When I sat up again, we were stuck on a rock in the middle of the river! We shook the raft as hard as we could. It was no use. The front of the boat was stuck firmly on the rock, stubbornly refusing to let go. “Get to the back of the raft!” my dad yelled. I slid over the seats and scrambled to the back. Since the weight was all in the back, the raft loosened from the rock and we continued down the river. We maneuvered left and right occasionally spinning out of control and then righting ourselves. When the water was calm again, my brother grabbed a bucket and started bailing. My dad joked that half of the water my brother got into the bucket and tried to fling out the boat spilled back in.
Finally, after hours and hours of paddling (and smashing into rocks), we were done! My arm muscles were aching and my throat was sore from screaming. I felt triumphant (and sticky) as I took off my soaking water shoes. Not many kids could survive a five – hour whitewater. That whitewater rafting trip is one I will remember for a long long time!