PRATIE PLACE

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Asheville Saturday morning: "Whitewater" rafting on the French Broad

Again selecting the company with the best website, Hannah chose Huck Finn Rafting and made us a reservation.

We arrived, as requested, half an hour early, leaving time for filling out forms that say customers will not sue if they get killed on the trip. That took 55 seconds so we spent the rest of the half hour looking at T-shirts. This was my favorite but it was only in kids' sizes.

The water level is still very low after last year's 100-year drought. In fact, the rafting trip of the previous afternoon had been cancelled and it looked like the afternoon trip on Saturday would be cancelled as well. So there was no white water. However, watching the "guides" figure out how to get us through the rocky channels under these low-water conditions was very entertaining. Sometimes the guide (who was festooned with tattoos) would yell "SLIDE RIGHT" and the left-side people would careen over into the embrace of the right-side people (luckily for me, that was Hannah). With weight only on one side, the raft could get through narrower channels on "two wheels."

The guides entertain each other with little games like (1) who will be the first to blow his whistle when somebody falls out of a raft, or (2) who can get his raftful of idiots through a challenging passageway without having to get out of the raft and push. Our guides also entertained themselves by mocking the guides of another company because they had to carry bailing pails and we didn't.

We laughed and laughed and the air was wonderful. We were let out of the raft a few times for little swims and then the guide hauled us back in like big fish he was landing, which in a sense I guess we were. They must see us as wallets which are unfortunately encased in idiot bodies.

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