Riding the Poudre

Rafters on the Cache La Poudre River, northwest of Fort Collins, Colorado, May 15th, 2015 We drove up to see what the river looked like after getting so much rain and got there just as these rafters were ready for their trip down. This section of the river is just a few miles south of our mountain property in Glacier View Meadows, so we are always checking on water levels and conditions after experiencing the big flood in Sept., 2013

Rafters on the Cache La Poudre River, northwest of Fort Collins, Colorado, May 15th, 2015

 

The skies opened up, and the rain fell, picking up with earnest intent as if to emphasize the weather report, “cloudy with chance of more rain”. The river was rising with water levels looking dangerously high in places. Pam was not an experienced swimmer. If something went wrong and…

Why did I ever consent to go on this trip? Well, I just won’t think those thoughts.

“Everything will be fine. Don’t worry.” Katie said. “The guides would not bring up a group if they did not feel confident they could guide it safely back down.”

Pam smiled at her friend, nervously adjusting the straps on her life jacket. “That is easy for you to say. You’ve done this before. This is my first.” And I hope, not my last. She thought.

They climbed into the rafts, each grasping their paddles and began to make their way down the river.

OK. I can do this.

“We should navigate over and between the boulders easily with all the recent rains.” Katie said, loudly.

The foaming white water swirling about their raft promised a cold, wet and wild ride. It seemed to pick up speed rushing at them from behind.

They were getting closer to the ‘drop-off’ ahead where the rapids cascaded over a ridge of rocks. The settling of boulders fallen from the mountainside during a massive rock slide after the big flood had changed the dynamics of the river. What was easy navigating before now became more challenging and the “Big Drop” as they called it, steeper. The guide had instructed them when to pull up their paddles.

Pam’s eyes got as big as the lens on her camera as she now saw what was coming. But, this was like nothing she’d captured before on her camera. Because it was happening to her.

“Now! Pull up your paddles.” the guide yelled.

Pam’s paddle was caught. She pulled, trying to free it.

“Now.” he yelled again. At her.

“I can’t! It’s stuck.”

_____________

To be continued…

This is a work of fiction. Part 2, the conclusion will be posted in a few days. Information on whitewater rafting the Poudre can be found here.

Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

 


%d bloggers like this: