State Capital, Charleston, West Virginia
Well, we just got back from our big rafting trip, and boy am I sore!
We definitely had a nice time, but I wouldn't say it was THE-GREATEST-MOST-FABULOUS-TIME-OF-MY-LIFE kind of a trip. We left at 3:30 PM on Saturday, after spending a very enjoyable lazy morning sleeping in (we needed it!). But leaving so late meant that we didn't arrive until about 9:30 at night. Dark, unfamiliar, rabbit warren of a campgroup equals a foggy, snappy, sleepy Where the &;$@!% hell is our campsite type of arrival.
Tent up, sleeping bags unrolled, and beer in hand helped lighten everyone's mood, and we went to bed relatively early (probably about 10:30 or so). Unfortunately, Papa's tent looks like it's wearing a condom; the rainfly goes all the way to the ground (very bizarre). When we were inside, the humidity was stifling, and it took a few hours for us to realize to fix it we needed to open up the rainfly. But we were jazzed for the next day, and ready to get up early and beat the stampede to the watering hole (a.k.a., continental breakfast).
Unfortunately (again), some hooligans on the other side of the campground had different ideas. "O-H-I-O" rang in our ears throughout the night; apparently their beer was full of school spirt. We all just lay there cursing, but other campers were not so sweet. The somewhat cheery, if slurred, "O-H-I-O" chant slowly evolved to "O-H . . . EFF-U!" with some shut up's and knock it off's peppered in, surround sound style, from various points throughout the campground.
We woke up groggy and cranky, but excited for the rafting trip (excitement only slightly tarnished by the "You May Die" waiver we were required to sign beforehand).
Yeah, they weren't kidding about the "You May Die" part, and I would say that was the reason I didn't really have fun. It was my first rafting trip ever, and I would have been really disappointed to have died on it. I thought it was supposed to be all Class 2 and maybe a few 3's, but NOPE! We went on Class 4 and 5 rapids! Parts of it was very much like The River Wild, and I was pretty upset about that.
I didn't fall out of the boat though. It's a pretty common occurrence, so I was surprised myself not to have been dunked, but thank goodness. That really would have left a bad taste in my mouth. Instead, early on in the trip (before I got wet anyway due to the rapids) I got splashed by some random bully from another boat, so our guide made it his mission to sneak up behind them and yank him off with his paddle. He almost succeeded. So close, yet so far. I sent a few good Medusa stares his way too. Talk about a watermelon. Literally!
So the trip went over about as great a limp noodle. Wait, is that how the saying goes? Whatever. I don't care. I was irritated from the very first "You owe me money" e-mail, through the part where we were complete afterthoughts, all the way to leaving early and missing dinner so we could get back at a relatively decent time, and finally making it to: we still didn't get home until 11 PM, and are both still exhausted today. May as well have stayed for dinner.
The good? There was some! I saw my first true, honest to goodness West Virginian hillbilly (apparently there's a difference). I saw three of them, to be more accurate. Mawm 'n Pawp sittin' on their porch, watching the cars go by (or the bugs hitting the zapper, or the person across the street changing, or who knows). And Hillbilly Bill Billy, wearing overalls with reflectors. Ha ha!
There was a lot of other good stuff. Any rapids that were Class 2 or less, not falling out of the boat, not dying, spending a 7 hour car ride with Papa, sleeping in his beloved tent (on a hill, in 100 percent humidity) and waking up the next morning and INSISTING that we get a new tent (and he agreed), getting just the right amount of sun (with the aid of the 50 SPF sunblock I was wearing), and coming home to our 5 indoor kids and seeing their bright, sunny faces.