Monday, March 13, 2017

Oh Shoot! It's the Tunnel Chute & #IWSG News

Let Me Tell You A Story

Over the years I've heard or read stories about other people's lives. I've also had a few experiences that have entered into my "Let me tell you about the time" category. Some of these stories have crept into my books. Others are waiting in the wings. Here's one about the time I ran the Tunnel Chute.




This is the North Fork on a different rafting adventure. My son's to my right. My husband's down in front and almost under water. Nobody filmed my Tunnel Chute experience. My family said they were glad they missed that trip.


I'd rafted the North and South Fork of the American River, but not the Middle, so when a friend asked if I wanted to go on one of his rafting trips, I jumped at the chance. We'd had a wet year, and the river was boasting a lot of Class V rapids.

I wound up with a group of about five other rafters plus the guide who were all surfers from Santa Cruz. They were also about twenty years younger than I was and were still immortal. I didn't know that until after I stepped into the raft, so common sense had no part in my decision to go along.

When we came to the Tunnel Chute, the river guide made us hike up to the top of the gorge and "study" the rapid. He told us we had to have our paddles in when he called for them, and we had to hit the boulder on the far bank with our raft at an exact spot. If we did it right, we'd bounce back, into the rapid and be on our way down river. If we missed. . .well, let's just say, we didn't want that to happen. A lot of the others on the river that day portaged around the Chute, others capsized and swam. 


They save the Tunnel Chute for the last. It's worth the wait! 

As I stepped into the raft, I eyed the trail, thinking portaging sounded darned good, but I grabbed my paddle, said a prayer to the river god and pushed off. 

I was aft with the guide, so when we hit the rapid, and he yelled paddles in, then flew off the back of the raft, I was the only one who knew the six of us were on our own. I didn't have time to shout, "guide overboard" before our raft "folded" and I flew up and out. The river god must have heard my prayer because before I had a chance to go under water a second time, the water threw me back into my seat, paddle and all.

We shot that rapid and, of course, celebrated our success by jumping into the icy water. Why not. We were already soaked and blue. The guide met us. He swam the rapid faster than we rafted it.  



An interesting fact about the American RiverThe river is known for the 1848 discovery of gold at Coloma which started the California Gold Rush and contributed to the initial large-scale settlement of California by European immigrants. 


Quote of the Week: The danger sensation is exciting. The challenge is to find new dangers. Ayrton Senna, Brazilian Celeb.



Here's a special Announcement from #IWSG!

Not on Goodreads?
The IWSG book club is a good reason to join.
Hope to see you there

69 comments:

  1. You guys made it despite not having your guide. Funny he would be the one to go overboard. I'm sure the video doesn't show how difficult it really is to get through in one piece.
    The book club is open and rocking already!

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    1. It is up and running with several members already! And yes, the guide took a lot of jokes for his absence.

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  2. We did white water rafting in a controlled setting (this cool place in Charlotte) and it was tough. Seeing my guide go overboard wouldn't have been a good feeling. I think the only reason I wasn't tossed is I had one foot wedged in so tight under the seat I lost all feeling in it.

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    1. That's exactly what you should do. Stay in no matter what!

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    1. My mother said, I was witless for even going near a raft.

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  4. I've done the tunnel shoot! It was fun, but yeah, it would have been scary to be thrown out. I'll throw this in for others--The chute is nothing but sharp hidden rocks under the water. (It was blasted by miners.) I still remember the guide giving specific instructions on what to do if thrown out to avoid being ripped to shreds. I'm glad you were thrown back in! :)

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    1. Yay! We should have an "I survived badge" shouldn't we. Torn to shreds isn't terribly comforting. I'm glad I didn't hear that part.

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  5. You are the adventurous one, C. Lee. Your life is so exciting. Glad you survived. :) I've joined the Good Reads group. Sounds like fun.
    Have a great wee. Watch for those waves.

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    1. Umm, that should be week. My eyes are still crazy.

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    2. It's the excitement of the book club that did it! :-)

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  6. That sounds scary but fun! I wouldn’t do it now, but I would have once. It's a shame we stop thinking of ourselves as immortal when we realise just how mortal we are. :)

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    1. I suppose it's the experience of life that makes us more cautious.

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  7. Oh wow! What an amazing adventure. The river gods were indeed listening to you. I rafted the upper Rio Grand a long time ago, but it was nothing like that!

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    1. I'll bet the American River is really offering up some Class Vs this year with all the rain.

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  8. OMG, you are braver than I am. Could not do it! LOL maybe when I was 25, but now, no way! Lost that try anything once attitude with age. Damn, but it sounded like fun. ;)

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    1. Once I was on the raft, I had no choice but to go forward, but I did think about hiking to the take out point.

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  9. Wow, sounds fun, brave, and scary. Awesome. Joined the book club.
    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

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  10. You are so brave and adventurous. I'm not a strong enough swimmer to do this.

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    1. I don't think you get a chance to swim. The current takes you where it wants to. It's better to stay in that raft.

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  11. That is just amazing. I assume the original (with your son and husband) was filmed by one of the nature photographers, like Bear Grylls' guys. Tough and brave. They earned their pay on that one!

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    1. I'm not sure who took that shot. Anyone brave enough to take a camera on one of those rafts should get a pay increase.

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  12. I'd probably hit my head on a rock or something knowing my luck haha Glad you made it on through, guide or not.

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    1. I was thinking when I saw the video that I posted that we didn't have helmets that day. Rafters just didn't use them then.

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  13. you're brave, I don't think I'd ever step on a raft, even ships scare me, Dezzy was not made to swim or fly :)

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    1. I'll bet you're a Taurus, someone with their feet firmly planted on Mother Earth.

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    1. I couldn't chicken out. That's what made me brave.

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  15. Wow, that's an incredible story! I don't think I'm quite brave enough to go rafting.

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    1. There are a lot of Class III that are fun and doable.

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  16. What a great story! We used to raft down the American River in Sacramento--but there was only one white water rapid to get through. That was scary enough for me, since we always had little kids in our rafts--plus the San Juan was never the same because of water levels. But so much fun!

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    1. It is fun, isn't it? I kind of miss it, but I think I've run my rivers, and I'd best let the younger generation run theirs.

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  17. Lawdy, Miss Clawdy!

    I salute you, Cheryl! You have amazing courage to take on a challenge of that magnitude. (Shucks, Shady's scared to get on the merry-go-round at the fair! :) Your story reminds me of the mad men who went rafting in the 1994 TV movie White Mile starring Alan Alda. Providing the storyline for IMDB, Pat McCurry wrote:

    "Based on a true story, Dan Cutler is the head of a New York advertising agency. In a move to build character, he books a trip for a whitewater rafting trip on Canada's White Mile. After the raft turns over, all of the men scatter all over the rapids. Some of them are found dead, which leads to a lawsuit by one of the wives of the deceased."

    What an adrenaline rush it must be to negotiate those wild white rapids and arrive at the end of the run. I agree with that quote at the end. The challenge is to find new dangers because the law of diminishing return lessens the thrill every time you repeat the same specific activity.

    Have a super week, dear friend C-Lee!

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    1. I'm writing this one down. I'll bet there are some great rapids to see in that movie. I suppose they had to have some fatalities to make the movie exciting, but with a good guide (inside your raft) and a good team (which I had) you can run some pretty dicey water safely. Thanks as always for stopping by.

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  18. Wow. 'The water threw me back into my seat.' Oh yes, there's definitely story material there.

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    1. I had the hardest time explaining what happened. Nobody believed me until someone else said they'd had a similar experience. So it's possible and I didn't imagine it.

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  19. I loved the little white water rafting I have done. Nepal white-water rafting was a highlight.
    I should go back to the sport. Old and decrepit or not.
    Yay for the ISWG book club.

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    1. I'd love to hear about your Nepal rafting. That had to be exciting.

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  20. You are so brave. What an exciting adventure.

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    1. There's bravery and there's just being in the place and not having a choice to change your mind. For me, it was the latter.

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  21. Woah, nice story! I doubt I'd ever have the courage to do something similar though.

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    1. I'd love to do more with the story, but I'm not sure if I will.

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  22. Gosh...I would love to do this! It looks like fun and I am never scared of water. What a great story and great memories

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    1. Give it a try and let us know what your experience was. You'll really love it.

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  23. Wow, you're brave. And it makes for a good story.

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    1. I'd like to weave it into a story, but so far I haven't found one that will let me do that.

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  24. Hi Lee - wonderful to see ... but I'm glad I didn't do it ... I did do some gentle rapids on the Kunene in Angola ... that's about my lot! The Zambezi wasn't open when I visited ... though I do have one experience that lives on with me ...

    Love the video and your description -tipped up, flown back up into seat paddle and all yes the river gods were with you ... must have been such a great experience ... I'm sure you can find a way to weave it in sometime to some story ...

    Cheers and I noted the IWSG and GoodReads group ... Hilary

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    1. Any river in Angola sounds exciting, Hilary! I'd love to hear about that adventure.

      Maybe I'll see you at the Goodreads Book Club. That would be wonderful.

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  25. Yikes! I find the Riverraft ride at the amusement parks more than enough excitement for me. Glad you survived the trip.

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    1. Odd as may sound, things at amusement parks scare me to death. I didn't think I'd survive my first ride on a roller coaster.

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  26. Wow- you are a lot braver than I am! I enjoy tubing- but rafting looks scary to me (though, exciting). Maybe when I was younger! Now I would worry about pulling out my back and in my 40s I have a great fear of injury than I did in my 20s. :) Glad the river gods put you back in your seat- paddle and all.
    ~Jess

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    1. I wish I could have seen how that worked--me up in the air, in the water and then back in the raft. What a picture that would make.

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  27. You are adventurous! I can't swim well and am afraid of drowning, so I wouldn't be brave enough to do that.

    Thanks for helping to announce the book club! :)

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    1. One thing about being in the rapids is you don't have to swim. You pull your legs to your chest and go with the flow. Glad to have the book club starting and have mentioned it in my Email Connect this month.

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  28. Wow, what an adventure! I'll bet an adventure like that would make a good addition to one of your books someday.

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    1. One never knows what will wind up a book. It's good to keep a journal just in case.

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  29. Sorry I'm so late to see this post.
    That looks like an awesome adventure! I haven't rafted since I had my second child so it's been 16 years. I definitely think it's time to go again. :)

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    1. This year California will have some serious rapids for quite a while. I'd love to do a trip, but I probably won't.

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  30. It's been forever since I've gone river rafting. Definitely not one of my favorite sports, but it can be...adrenaline inducing. Truthfully, if I'm going to have a water sport, I'd rather be in scuba gear beneath the surface. Such a fascinating world down there.

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    1. Since I am totally claustrophobic, I stay on the surface.

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  31. The only rafting I've ever done was like floating in a swimming pool compared to what you're talking about. That's intense. Probably not something I'll be doing in this lifetime.

    But it looks fun from the vantage point of watching it on video.

    Lee

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    1. That's where I'll be watching from now on. I have things that break more easily these days--like arms and legs and even a head. :-)

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  32. I went white-water rafting in the Jordan River, in the town of Kfar Blum, when I was twenty-five. It was really fun, and I was glad I didn't fall out and bang the metal hardware in my right ankle and leg on the rocks. There was only one real rapid and drop-down, though I'm told it's a bit wilder in the winter. The Jordan River really is nothing like all the songs make it out to be, since it's more like a creek!

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    1. But what an exotic and romantic idea that river conveys!

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  33. Wow, what an adventure! The end made me laugh--you were able to swim faster than raft. I did once many years ago, but I think our river in Upstate NY was tamer.

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  34. That sounds terrifying and fun. I don't know if I'm up for class V rapids, but I'd be interested in river rafting.

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  35. Were there no kayaks on the river? In my younger days, I would have wanted to paddle it but in a kayak.

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  36. "Let me tell you about the time" stories are the best. This trip sounds exciting. Shot out and back in again. That's a little scary. Not sure I could ever do it.

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