I’d been dreaming of rafting the Rogue River in Oregon for a long time, but always the logistics got in the way. Finally it was time to”just do this.”
After stopping at The Grocery Outlet from Hell, my first glimpse of the river.
Follow the Flow
So we got to the put-in mid-morning. Straight off the ramp is the Class II rapid called Ennis Riffle. I held on and didn’t take any pictures. (Class II on a scale of I to V is not challenging!)
My mentor started teaching me about how to read where the water flows. The river points the way in with its current. You just stay in the flow and the river takes you where you want to go. At least, that's the philosophy…
Have You Learned a New Dance Lately?
I started taking the oars (“sticks” in the vernacular) and I played with moving the raft back and forth across the river. What does it do if I do THIS? And what about THAT? I’d only been in paddle rafts or row boats (pulling backward). This is quite a different feeling.
Curious. Awkward. Buzzing with excitement.
I started learning the basics of turning this way and that. We got pretty dizzy as I practiced to get the muscle memory on the flat water.
One forward, one back, moving independently
Now the dance floor
To find the flow into the rapid, follow the V or tongue. It’s the dark, smooth water with the white pointing the way in.
OK, survived the first little bumps
That evening, I reflected on my lessons so far. I’d followed the tongue into a small rapid and gone carefully alongside the white crests, sticking with the smoother water. In performance driving, the smooth driver is the fast driver. Don't want to unsettle the weight of the car.
My mentor asked,”What are you doing over HERE? The [main flow of] water is over THERE!”as he pointed to the stream of white splashes.
Suddenly, I realized that when we came into anything white, I was really cringing! Afraid of getting splashed and cold and unable to recover. So even on a lovely warm day, where splashes rarely reached over the sides of the raft, I’d been avoiding, flinching, holding back.
Where else in my life have I been protecting my fragile self and holding back, avoiding the primary Flow? Wow, how quickly habits develop!
The River was gifting me bigger Lessons than I realized.
With just a little skill in the technique, I already learned that setting my course makes the most difference in my experience!
The second morning out was still and beautiful. We ran the same section of the river.
Now when it was my turn to row, you better believe I followed that tongue into the rapid, then aimed directly for every bit of white I could crash into!
Bounce and pull and laugh out loud!
OK, here comes some excitement!
And further on… Stay IN the FLOW! Yeah, Baby!
It’s all about making good choices