Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Whitewater Memorial Day weekend

Whitewater Adventure on Cache Creek

After an unplanned detour through Sacremento, we finally made it to the camp site at Cache Creek for our overnight rafting trip. After cruising the campground parking lot looking for signs of Chizz, I finally opted to ask some random people in the parking lot, "Hey do you know Chad and Lyndsey?"
"Oh, yeah, they're right over here."
Miraculously, they just happened to have met our trip organizers earlier in the day, and directed us right to them; past the barn, a playground, over a hill, across a field to the back of the campsite's picnic area. Had we not asked for help, there's no way in hell we would've found them.
Quickly we pitched our $30 WalMart tent and got to drinking. But at this hour, there was no way I was going to be able to catch up with them. They'd been drinking since 2 pm. Soon after, everyone hit the sack. Including my friend JoeO.
It was a cold night. Fucking freezing. Even in our 15ยบ mummy bags, we couldn't stay warm.
The next morning we got moving quick. The launch area was bustling with rafters and their gear. After a swig of Stoli, we loaded our gear onto the gear truck, and then ourselves on the buses. From there, we rumbled to the actual launch area. We endured a quick orientation on how to use a life-vest and how to paddle a boat, and we were off.
We quickly got the hang of navigating the boat, and soon we were maneuvering around rocks and through rapids with relative ease. A couple times our boat got caught on shallow rocks, but mostly we were able to navigate around most of the dangers.
"Mother" is the class 3.5 rapid we had to negotiate. Though for us novices, it did seem a bit intimidating, at that point, we were expertly weaving in and out of rapids, no problems whatsoever. Maybe it was overconfidence that did us in at the end. Or perhaps it was the 6-8 beers I drank while on the river, in lieu of the water I should have been drinking to stay hydrated.
The final bit of rapids seemed harmless. It was a gentle left turn followed by a sharp right turn which was flanked by a large bush on the left bank. It didn't look too menacing, but once we headed down the short rapid, making the sharp right turn became immediately impossible. I watched as our boat slid under the bush, and smacked my GF right off the front of the boat. Another instant and the bush swept me out of the boat too, and an instant later I was bobbing helplessly downstream.
I reminded myself to keep my toes in front of me as my ass cheeks painfully bounced on the shallow rocks beneath. We finally made it to shore, and luckily our friends retrieved out boat for us.
We shivered up the shore to retrieve our tent, cooler, etc, which had been lined up along the banks where we were going to be camping that night. In a few hours, the stretch of shoreline became a massive tent city. The ipod player emerged, as did the coolers of beer and booze.
The rest of the afternoon was a blur of cocktails, beers and volleyball. Sinewy steaks and bone-dry chicken breasts were on the communal menu. As were baked potatoes the size of my head, corn on the cob and pasta salad. The latter items were edible, the previous items, not-so-much.
We were informed that the day two's rafting route was to be a repeat of day one's, (due to road closures) so it seemed to me that opting out might be a good option. As I rubbed my aching butt cheeks, we decided that we'd make the drive home rather than freeze our asses off for another day.

Overall, I had a blast. Besides having a cold, and being cold, I had a terrific time on the river. Camping was pleasant too, as was the communal living aspect of the weekend. Whitewater Adventures runs a decent excursion, and for just over a hundred bucks, they provide quite a fun time.

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