Road Trip 2008 - Day Eight: Taos - Rio Grande Whitewater Rafting

Being the open-minded and amiable boyfriend that I am, I asked Edie what she's like to do while in Taos. I admit I was a bit surprised/intimidated when she came up with things like Helicopter Rides and White Water Rafting! But out of my great love for her (apparently a love which knows no bounds of self preservation) I swallowed my anxiety and made reservations for us with the Los Rios River Runners.

Los Rios offered a variety of rafting options ranging from the placidly tame to the outright DareDevil. I thought it best to opt for the middle path and chose "The Race Course" which on most days is a Class Three (moderate waves to exciting boulder-strewn whitewater). Little did I realize that due to the earlier weather (which we experienced in Colorado) and subsequent run-off our little rafting excursion would be on Class Four waters.

ANYWAY, after driving to the pick-up point, we piled on the bus with the other eager rafters and headed south to our departure point. The group divided into teams of six, each of which would board a raft alongside a raft leader. I admit I was feeling pumped up and excited, so when it came time to volunteer to take the point position at the head of the raft I foolishly raised my hand.

After several ominous warnings about falling out of the boat we set out, practicing our rowing directions at the command of the leader. Things started off very smoothly and I was thinking to myself "wow, this isn't hard at all". And then the leader told us we were about to enter the "race course" (which apparently I agreed and paid to ride). They weren't exaggerating on the part about the "white" water. It was fast, furious and VERY cold. As our veteran rafter barked out commands we paddled hard right, then left, then backwards, then left again, all in the hopes of avoiding the major boulders and watery plummets ahead. We indeed missed a few, but hit plenty of others.

On one particularly steep drop, yours truly found himself staring the raging river in the face and as the raft popped back up out of the foaming divot, so did its plump point man -- up and OUT of the raft!! Finding myself suddenly alone in the frigid, violent waters, I was surprised at how calm I was. I wondered how man other great men have perished by similarly falling out of a rubber raft. At the time, I couldn't think of any. Thanks to a burly, young police officer who happened to be honeymooning in our raft, I was safely pulled back in to all our wide-eyed astonishment. It was then that I opted to let a much younger lad take the point for the remainder of the course.

After our adventure was over, the veteran rafters all patted me on the back and congratulated me for being a new member of the elite Rio Grande Swimming Team.

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