Saturday, June 16, 2007
A Tale of 2 Shoes or the Day I Didn't Die
I'm not even sure where to begin with this little tale. I'm not even sure what to title it! Should we call it the Great Linkup Camping Trip? Pirates on the Provo River? A Tale of 2 Shoes? The Day My Life Flashed Before My Eyes? How CarrieAnn Caught a Shoe With Her Own Bare Teeth? Or the Story of My Sunburn?
All of these would very accurately describe my weekend. The condensed version of the weekend goes like this. I went camping with a group of friends I had never met before (in person) from the website that I frequent called LDS LinkUp.com. If you have been reading along on this blog you know I've been feeling a lot of anxiety lately, particularly when it comes to meeting new people. This trip had me a little nervous, but I sucked it up and went. Basically it was about 20 adults and I'm guessing 60 kids (Mostly divorced single moms and their kids.) at a campground not far from my house. Friday night was meet and greet and hang out and talk and have a blast. Saturday morning 2 of the new friends and I went tubing down the Provo River where I nearly met my Maker. No lie. Craziest and scariest moment of my entire life up there. Insane! Saturday afternoon- hang out and enjoy the company of new friends.
Now, for the not so condensed version.
Friday night was (for me) a bit intimidating meeting so many new people at once. I have been "talking" to most of them online for nearly a year. And some I know from online better than others. But I had never met any of them in person before, so I was just a little nervous. But everyone proved to be fascinating and interesting in their own ways. I was very surprised who I found I liked more in person as compared to our debates and discussions online. But it really was a good time. I brought brownie mix and made brownies in my newly purchased dutch oven. (I love buying camping gear!) It took about an hour longer to bake than I had expected, but they turned out alright. The kids gobbled them right up. I made several little friends amongst the kiddos as a result.
Saturday morning was my tubing trip down the Provo River. This was something I wanted to do and had extended the invitation to anyone who wanted to come. So Dena (screenname Warm Vanilla Sugar) and CarrieAnn (screenname Dead Sexxy Nerdspouse) (and Dena's son, Dylan) joined with me. Crazy crazy! First off, back home in the nice warm and humid comforts of Virginia I have gone tubing a dozen times. The Shenandoah, the Potomac, the James Rivers and others. It's always been a nearly relaxing trip, low currents, low river, no big deal. Just float on down the river, right? Ha. NOT HERE.
The Provo River is first of all, considerably faster than any of the previous rivers I have tubed down. In fact, it's about as fast as the New and Gauley Rivers that I have white water rafted down. I'm not saying it had comparable rapids, but the speed of the water was pretty fast. And then there is the freaking freezing cold temperature of the water. Ay yi yi. Can you say snow melt? Ice water? My body went numb when I got stuck underwater in the current? Yeah, it was that kinda cold.
My first warning was when it took a spotter to help us get into our tubes at the launch point. Our tubes were attempting to make an escape that early on.
Oh, and I'd like to point out now that the tubing company had suggested we where our sandals. So I was wearing my beloved brown sandally flip flops. May they rest in peace.
So Dena, CA and I are floating down river, having a lovely time, in spite of the fact that our butts and toes have gone completely numb. We linked together, holding on to each other's tubes so we could talk. We passed a cute family in their own personal raft with 2 cute little boys inside, and a pirate flag on the back. We waved, they waved, we kept running into the banks of the river and getting scratched by the branches. Oh and I saw 2 beavers. One even came up and swam beside me for a second. So cute! (Maybe I want a beaver?)
We had been told as we approached a train trestle that we needed to go under it feet first. As we got closer to it the river really picked up speed and we hit a rapid. Suddenly Dena's tube got stuck on a branch. Because we were all holding on to each other's tubes, this yanked CA and I around. I was on the end and got whipped around the hardest, causing me to hit the rapid first. Suddenly, the force of the river pulled my tube out from under me, leaving me hanging on to CA's tube. For about a second I had the choice to keep holding on to be tube or let it go. My entire body was under the water, except for one arm holding to CA's tube and the other holding to mine, pulling me downstream. I realized that if I held to my tube I was going to lose it very quickly, and probably get pulled under the water, going through a rapid, and in a very bad location. Oh, and I can't swim. Did I mention that yet? This was the moment where I realized that I could very easily die in a very scary way very quickly.
I chose to let go of my tube in that split second. My tube went zooming down river (with my sandals inside of it). I was left with my legs completely numb underwater, and one arm out of the water, clinging by 3 fingers to CA's tube. CA and Dena haven't even realized what's happened to me yet as they attempt to extract Dena from the tree. They got her out of the tree, Dena zooms off and CA realizes I'm about to drown. I kid you not, my body was rapidly going numb and my face is bobbing under the water. The current was so strong I couldn't even pull my arm up out of the water to grab the tube. And there was no hope for me to attempt to stand up. I have never been so intensely scared for my life before.
CA reached in and grabbed me, helping to pull me out of the water. And that was when I realized my bathing suit bottom had been pulled down and nearly off of me. Part of the reason I couldn't kick my legs wasn't just because I was losing all feeling in them, but because my suit was tangled around my knees. So CarrieAnn is pulling me out of the water and onto a rock, and I started laughing so hard I couldn't breathe. And somewhere in there my face went straight into CA's hand, (not that she could feel it, her hand was numb) and my tooth went into my lip. So I've got a great swollen lip. Totally crazy.
Let it be known I did manage to get out of the water and into CA's tube without completely baring all.
So now we've lost Dena and it's just me and CA attempting to balance in her tube. This requires that we both have one leg in and one leg out of the tube. We float along several minutes in this totally crazy style when we see the pirates up ahead. And hallelujah, they have my tube. We start yelling, they are yelling and we are floating to the wrong side of the river. Any body part that is in the water is numb, so we can't kick or swim our way over to them. So they throw us a life line (rope bag), and CA reaches for it. I'm not sure why, but I think it was a natural body reaction to freezing that I started to laugh uncontrollably. Pirates on the Provo River have my tube, I've lost my shoes, my body is numb and now this girl I hardly know is about to fall face first into the river to grab a rope so she can save my tube. And I'm laughing hysterically. I'm laughing so hard I can't breathe and my entire body is shaking. And I'm just laughing.
CA leans and leans and stretches and -splash!- falls right into the river, missing the rope. She's leaning back for me and the tube, I'm dodging yet another briar patch and then I look down and just happen to see one of my sandals floating right past me. I'm yelling, "My shoe! Save my shoe!" CA, who is still in the process of attempting to grab a tube- any tube- or the rope, or just to get herself out of the water before she loses all feeling, sees my shoe and GRABS IT IN HER TEETH!
If you think I wasn't laughing uncontrollably before, I was now! CA is able to grab both my tube and her tube and pull both of us to the side, where she's able to get in a tube and out of the freezing water and hand me back my shoe. I'm still laughing so hard I can't breathe. CA catches her breath, looks at me and says, "You are so on my friends list now!" (which would be an inside joke for all people on LDS linkup)
We managed to finish out the rest of the rafting trip without any fatalities or near-death experiences. We did get the chance to sing the "Yo Ho, Yo Ho, a pirate's life for me" song with the pirates as we passed them again later on.
Although, I think Dena felt near to death when we had to exit the river at the end, and we had to walk in waist deep water for 2 minutes.
Now, if you recall, I only had one sandal at this point, thanks to CA's teeth. But thankfully the tubing company saves shoes they see floating down the river. And thanks to CA and Dena investigating behind the tubing company's trailer, they were able to find me a shoe. Please see the picture above. It is a man's shoe and about 5 sizes too big for me, but it is a left shoe. And really, that is all that matters.
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