Vacation – The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

I do not have a case of vacation blues.  While I did enjoy most of the time spent away, I’m glad to be home.  I like my routine.  I was starting to miss Lola the Pain in the Butt Puppy.  And there were some incidents…

Saturday May 28-Friday June 4 were great.  I had a lot of fun.  I got to see some wonderful people I don’t see often enough.  I threw some darts, hung out, went fishing, got a little sun (not enough to burn), and relaxed.

The same cannot be said for Saturday, June 5th.  As a matter of fact, I would chalk it up to one of the worst days I’ve had in a long time.  We scheduled a float trip.  I love float trips on the Elk River.  The six-mile usually takes a little over four hours by the time you get stops in for bathroom breaks, food breaks, and drink breaks.

It started with a miscommunication.  We had 8 people going on the float trip, plus coolers.  That means the 8-man raft isn’t quite big enough.  I made arrangements to get the 10-man raft with the owners.  My SO then went to get the raft and got the 8-man because the owner wasn’t up there, someone else was and things had changed in the short forty minutes I took gathering our party together.

However, there was another group going out at the same time as us.  My SO and I both knew the main person in their raft and he made arrangements with her to sort of share the float.  She had an 8-man raft, but only 4 people going.  One or two of ours could just jump in with her and we’d float together.

I ended up the volunteer to switch boats because of yet another miscommunication between my SO and I.  He said there wasn’t really room on our raft for 8 people with the coolers, we really needed someone to move.  No one volunteered, so I did.  At some point after that, but before the float started, I guess he told me to get back on our raft despite the cramped quarters, but I didn’t hear him.  But as I said, I know Lady C and know she always has a great float, so I wasn’t really worried about it.

However, by the halfway mark, it was by far the worst float trip ever.  Not because of Lady C; she was doing her best to salvage the trip, but even she was miserable.  Instead, one of the other passengers in the raft took about 2 minutes to go from friendly to the world’s biggest bitch.  Our raft left shore with six people, Lady C, three of her friends, me, an another addition.  We had been on the water maybe a minute when one of the other four (not Lady C or me) began to pick arguments with everyone on our boat.  Then they did nothing but bitch, be rude, and start more arguments to the halfway point.  So, I was freakin’ miserable on the raft.  To make matters worse, the first time we stopped, the girls on what would have been my raft were all trying to convince me to join them on it.  But I hadn’t heard my SO tell me to get on, so all it did was piss me off that there wasn’t enough room on the fun raft, which I had helped organize, for me.  Now, I’m miserable, pissed off, and starting to feel a little resentful.  And at the next stop, I told my SO exactly that.  He tells me to change rafts.  However, I’ve already gone more than halfway on the other raft.  We’ve given Lady C money to help cover the costs of it.  And frankly, I didn’t feel wanted, because I felt I had been kicked off at the beginning.

What should have been a four or five hour float turned into 6 1/2 hours.  The entire time, I have someone in my raft starting arguments, being rude, and shouting orders to the rest of us.  By the time we reached the last quarter of a mile, I was ready to hit them in the head with a paddle and run over them with our raft.  I think Lady C was in agreement.  But my original raft is having a good time all the way back.  So, when we finally reached shore, I was even more pissed off and resentful, my arms were sore because Lady C and I were trying to shorten the float as much as possible, and my entire Saturday felt like a disaster.  I regret taking it out on my SO later – I did start a screaming argument with him because I’d had a bad day on the river and he hadn’t, several hours after the float had ended.  That wasn’t fair to him.

We floated again on Sunday, with a slightly different group.  I got to stay in my originally assigned raft.  It was a much better float, despite the fact that I had a moment when I wondered if it was going to die, and my Sunday night was full of soreness, but at least I was happy.

So what happened… We had a 6-man raft and a kayak with us on Sunday.  A group of Coop Campers joined us on the river.  They had a 6-man raft and a canoe.  We went around a rough spot that had a fallen tree right in the middle of the river.  The Elk River has some shallow spots, it was probably only three or four feet deep.  It was too shallow for the root ball of the fallen tree to be completely submerged.  The other 6-man raft ran into the canoe, turning them sideways and putting them up on the root ball.  Our raft was headed straight for the front of that canoe.  In a split moment, I realized I had to push the canoe off or we were going to ram the front of them and dump them into the water, between our raft, their capsized canoe, the root ball, and the giant ass tree it was attached to.  So, I pushed on the front of their canoe, freeing them and then I fell out of the damn raft.  My back and rear end hit the root ball really hard (I was surprised I didn’t have puncture marks from it) and then the current caught me and sucked me under.  I had on a swimming suit, but to prevent burns, I usually wear a cover up as well.  Sunday, it was a large T-Shirt because my sarong had gotten a giant hole in it somehow in the Raft of Misery on Saturday and I’d pitched it.  I managed to get a breath of air before I went under, but…

As I slipped under the root ball and tree, there was a moment where I could feel the roots on my back and the river bed on my front.  I knew my shirt was going to snag on one of those roots and I wasn’t coming up on my own.  Somehow it didn’t and I managed to slide on through to the other side, pop up, and find my way to shore.  At the time, I didn’t hurt.  My heart was racing.  My lungs were trying to get air.  My knees were shaking.  And to my surprise, I still had ahold of my paddle, my SO’s can of beer (albeit, full of river water), my sun hat, and my sunglasses.  I assured everyone I was fine, despite my racing heart and the fear that still lurked within me, and we hung out on a gravel bar for about thirty minutes, while we all got over what had just happened.

We had a few more miles of float trip left and the further down the river we got, the more sore I became.  I could feel the muscles in my back, butt, and for some reason, my right shoulder, had all gotten injured.  By the time we made land, I could barely stand up .  My right side from my shoulder to my knee hurt like… well… like I had been tossed into a tree and then dragged under it.  And I totally admit that when it came time for bed, I had a minor breakdown.  Not because of the pain, but because for a moment I had been convinced that I wasn’t coming up without help and the current was strong enough that I wasn’t sure help could get to me.  Fire may be the worst way to die, but I’d rather not drown under a tree in four feet of water either.  To my relief, the canoe, which carried a pregnant woman and a friend of mine, didn’t flip.  I did manage to get them off the root ball, even if it did cause me a moment or two of panic and some sore muscles.

And despite the accident, the panic, and the later pain, it was still a better float on Sunday than on Saturday!

However, I am glad to be home.  Hopefully, this week turns out to be a good one.

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