Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Conquering the Whitewater

Rafting the Payette River in Idaho.
Summer vacation is rolling right along now with less than four weeks left until I regain my sanity ... I mean the kids go back to school.

We had a nice little break in June when we went to Boise to watch Blake and his soccer team represent Arizona in the U.S. Regional Soccer Championships. Nick didn't want any part of the 16-hour car ride and marathon of soccer games, so we arranged for him to visit his grandparents in Sacramento. 

After a game a day on three consecutive days and securing a spot in the quarterfinals, the team had a full day off so we decided to venture beyond the likes of the local zoo, old prison, and science center -- all fun, quick visits when we had a few hours before or after a soccer game. So we decided to add a little zing to our trip by taking Zach and Allie whitewater rafting.

Back in the day (that would be in the pre-children day) Brett and I took quite a few whitewater trips -- mostly down the American River and once on the Merced outside of Yosemite. I was a little apprehensive about my little son who has an apprehensive disposition ... especially when it comes to things like thrill rides and bouncing up and down uncontrollably in a raging river that can't be shut off with the flick of a switch. Would a boy who wouldn't go on Splash Mountain at Disneyland last summer venture into the mouth of the hungry Payette River?

When we arrived at the meeting place and the raft tour guides suggested Zach and Allie wear wet suits, puzzlement and what I would classify as a slight case of fear crept over both their faces. And when one of the guides gave the obligatory spiel about what to do if you fall out of the raft, Zach scrunched his eyebrows, shot a look out at the river, and looked at me for reassurance.

Once we got out in the river, Zach planted his feet as far as he could under the inflated crossbar. And he planted his eyes intently on the waters ahead. After the exhilaration of the first few sets of rapids, Zach grew more confident and by the end had asked to sit up front. I knew in the beginning he might have chosen to protest the venture, but I'm so glad -- especially for his sake -- that he put his initial fear aside, slipped into the wet suit and jumped in the raft. 

Now he's asking when we can go again, and, best of all, he'll have that wonderful memory of careening through the whitewater of Idaho with his sister and parents.

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