Experiences, anecdotes, tips, how-tos, hiking, nature, motherhood, memories.

Adventures in Camping with Kids

Camping with kids is like pitching a tent upside down. Both are bound to fill with laughter and raindrops.

--Victoria Marie

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Wet and Wild: Riding the New River Part 2


Whitewater rapids here we come!
“Who wants to jump off a cliff into the New River?” Seth asked our whitewater rafting family crew as we came around the next bend in the river in West Virginia.


            “Cliff?!”  I turned to my husband behind me in the raft.  “Did he say ‘to jump off a cliff’”?  I screeched.


            “It’s a huge boulder, really,” Seth assured me as the pale pink sandstone cliff came into view and we saw our other rafts pull over to the bank.

            As I gazed up from the water, I told my husband, “It looks like a cliff to me.” 


Some mothers have problems when you combine certain words, like “jumping off a cliff” when it comes to her children.  Yet my children scampered up the huge boulder with the rest of the rafters. 

Once we all left the rafts, the guides pulled the rafts back into the swift moving New River and floated downstream. 


“Wait!”  I shouted after Seth. 

“Just jump off the boulder and swim to the raft!”  He shouted back to me. 

I was the only one left on the beach.  Everyone else was on top of the boulder jumping into the current of the river and swimming toward their rafts.


“C’mon, Vic,” my husband called down.


Grudgingly, I climbed up the boulder and lay flat to peer over the lip at the tannin-colored water 30 feet below.


“Hurry, Mom,” my children called from the safety of the raft.


No one was paddling, yet the raft was gaining distance from the boulder.  I had to jump or forfeit the picnic lunch which was next on the agenda.  After a morning of digging the paddle into a cauldron of whitewater, I was starving.  With my heart pounding in my head, probably because of the tight vest, I decided to bless myself and depend on that vest to keep me from drowning.  The shriek that escaped from my lips as I jumped from the boulder frightened the birds from the trees. 


Once in the water, I struggled to catch up to our raft and found I couldn’t pull myself over the huge tube.  With the assistance of Seth, I flopped into the bottom of the raft like a drowned pelican.


“When’s lunch,” I gasped to Seth.


“Right after the Double Z,” he said with a smile.

As I struggled to my position on the tube edge and tucked my sneakers under it, I thought again how odd to actually name rapids. 


Lunch was a welcomed break to the day, and for the first time, my children ate everything included in the “boxed” lunch provided by Appalachian Whitewater Outfitters. 


As we plied our paddles that afternoon at the command of Seth, through many classifications of rapids from ripples to hydraulics, classes I to V, we came up to the rapids the guides called “the bloody nose hole,” an undercut at Millers Folly Rapids. 


We were almost finished with our exhilarating ride on the New River, and my children had remained in the raft during deep hydraulics and high level rapids on the river because of my continued shouting to shove their sneakered feet under the huge tube.  Just when I thought I could stop hyperventilating, Seth had one more question to ask my children. 

7 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness. You are way braver than me. I'm so afraid of heights. I've just realized that I missed some of your Camping stories and I'm reading them all now to catch up. I can't wait until the next episode!!!

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  3. Thank you so much, Marie, for visiting my Camping with Kids blog. It appears that I'm afraid of heights, too, or at least I discovered that when I had to jump into the New River from atop the cliff.

    Thanks again for visiting my Camping with Kids blog. It is greatly appreciated!

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  4. All your children looked like they enjoyed jumping off the cliff. I can only imagine how you felt seeing your children jump off the cliff.

    I love how you ended your post. I can't wait to read the next post!!

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    1. Thank you so much, Michelle, for visiting my Camping with Kids blog. Oh yes. The children enjoyed jumping into the New River. Only my son hesitated slightly and my oldest screamed. The first three girls had no fear at all. I wanted to close my eyes when they jumped, but couldn't. I needed to see them come up. I did lots of praying that day.

      Thank you again, Michelle, for visiting my Camping with Kids blog. The end of our adventure is coming soon.

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  5. Good for you for making that jump Victoria Marie. I suppose after everyone else had jumped you felt obliged to do it, but it still takes guts, especially when you are afraid of heights. Bet the kids enjoyed it too.

    Bill
    http://www.walksintameside.co.uk

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  6. The children loved jumping into the river, Bill. It was only I, the nervous mother afraid of heights, who felt compelled to jump because everyone else did. That and the fact that the raft was floating far downstream without me. I either jumped into the New River or hiked down its riverbank hoping to make it to the buses before they left for the day.

    Thanks so much, Bill, for visiting my Camping with Kids blog. Please stop by again to read the finish of our raft trip on the New River.

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