New York City Diary

Words and pictures from my interesting life in New York.

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Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Monday, April 11, 2005

Whitewater

It was busy at work today (Monday) but now I'm home and can take a few moments to write this. This is an abbreviated and sanitized version of the story, just a basic timeline. I may write my epic rafting masterpiece in a different form for publication somewhere.

Our trip to Indian Lake, New York was a great success. After work on Friday Webster, Adam, and I met at Noah's place uptown and grabbed some good food and hit the road. The drive was pretty smooth and we arrived at the Adirondack Trail Motel at about 11:45 p.m.

The rooms were perfect, an adjoining suite with four beds, and we hit the sack for our rafting trip the next morning. Okay, we had a Scotch, then hit the sack. We also enjoyed the deer motif in one of the rooms. There's a photo on the website so you can see it for yourself.

The next morning we settled up with the hotel manager, Martha, and then went to Jane and Cathy's Restaurant for an excellent pre-rafting breakfast of omelettes, toast, coffee, and juice.

We met at the outfitters, Adventure Sports Rafting, at 9:30 a.m. and got our wetsuits, booties, life jackets, helmets, and paddles. We changed into that stuff, locked up all our valuables, piled in the converted schoolbus, and rode, with about twenty two other crazy rafters, to the put-in spot.

We would be running three boats down the river, and our rafting guide was Stephanie. She was a very cool and highly-skilled guide. In our raft it was the four of us, three guys from another group, and Stephanie. She told us a dirty joke and then taught us the basic rafting strokes and commands and we were off.

I felt a fun feeling of anticipation but I was also a little nervous. It was a beautiful morning. The air temperature was about 55 degrees and it was very sunny, not a cloud in the sky. But the water was 29 degrees Fahrenheit. It said so on a sign in the store. We would soon know what it felt like.

For three miles or so we were on the Indian River. We hit our first set of rapids hard and got through it wet and exhilarated. The raft would first dive into a trough and then climb out of it, and usually a big wave would wash over the bow on one side or the other. Even though we were wearing wetsuits, that water was so cold that we all felt ice cream headaches for a few moments, but still we were really into it from the first rapid.

The rapids started to get wilder, and when we made it to the Hudson River Gorge we knew there was some big water coming. When we hit the first really big rapid the raft went just about vertical. Webster was at the starboard bow, in front of me, and as the boat went up I saw him start to tumble backwards and then started to fall backwards myself. At what seemed like the point of no return, the raft crested the wave, and I regained my seat in the boat, just barely.

But it was too late for Webster. He tumbled into the whitewater. He wasn't in for long, and was still in good spirits when he got back in the raft, so we forged ahead. In the end, we were among the lucky ones. The other rafts had multiple spills, resulting in a total of about seven or eight swimmers.

I could go on and wax poetic about it, but suffice it to say for now that it was awesome. The rapids were big and the conditions were excellent. Even our guides agreed. We shot through all different kinds of rapids with names like Gooley Steps, the Narrows, Giveny's Rift, and Bus Stop, to name just a few. Finally, after around sixteen miles, we hauled our rafts to the bus and chugged back to the outfitters.

We changed into our clothes and had a post-rafting snack, provided by the outfitters, of chicken, beans, rice, cornbread, brownies, and some other stuff. It was great.

We got cleaned up, and then tossed around the frisbee in the field behind the motel for a while. It was about 5:00 p.m. and the sun was still shining brightly in the sky. A bunch of people from the rafting trip were staying in our motel so we talked to them a bit. It seemed like everybody in town was involved in rafting at some level, either as a rafter or a guide or someone who works at a bar, restaurant, or motel that serves the rafting community. In the spring, Indian Lake becomes Raftville.

That evening we went to dinner at the Adirondack Mountain Grill, and then had some drinks at a bar across the street from our motel called the Bear Trap Inn. It had several stuffed bobcats, a dart board, and a pool table.

The next morning (Sunday) we went hiking up a mountain called Chimney Mountain. The weather was even nicer than it was on Saturday. At the summit there are several rock "chimneys," some of which you can climb, and others you'd best just admire from a distance. The view of the Adirondacks was spectacular and the air was crisp.

We were afraid to get caught in traffic, so we hit the road at 2:00 p.m. and drove pretty much straight back to the city, making the journey in about four and a half hours. I hung out with Jenn and put my digital photos on the computer. Unfortunately, the rafting trip was too wild to bring my digital camera, but I did bring a disposable camera that I put in a faux-Ziploc bag, and I'll get those pictures developed soon. The digital photos document things like our frisbee throwing and the hike.

Now I'm back to my regular life, which seems a little bit tamer than it was before I became a whitewater rafting enthusiast.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's unfortunate that whitewater rafting is such a double edged sword...the best conditions come in the spring thaw when the water from the melting snow is at 29 degrees. Sounds fun though, glad all of you are in one piece and well thawed out.

-seth

3:43 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Count me in for the next rafting adventure, once the water warms up a bit.

10:56 AM  

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