Wednesday, July 3, 2013

My "Relaxing" Mini-Vacation

This past weekend, I ventured to White Lake, Wisconsin for some camping fun.  I used to go camping all the time with my family but haven't been in a while so I thought it would be fun.  Actually Derek asked me to go with him and a friend of his (and a few of his friend's friends).  Turned out I was going to be the only girl but they said it wasn't a big deal.  A girl went last year with the guys too.  This was Derek's first time up.

A couple days before the trip, I hadn't gotten much information so I asked Derek to ask his friends where we were going, etc.  Being a girl, I wanted to check the weather so I could pack accordingly! lol.  I found out where we were going and after I looked at the website, it appeared that it was a rafting place as well.  Ok, I'm definitely no stranger to rafting either, I've been many times with my family (Colorado, Canada, name a few places), but again, it's been a while.  I asked if we were going rafting and Derek came back with his friend's response... "Yes but it's lazy river rafting."  I looked at the website and saw there was a family friendly Class 2 set of rapids and figured we would be going on those.  There were some that were Class 3 & 4 rapids but since they said "lazy river rafting..." well, Class 3 & 4 aren't "lazy river". For those that are not familiar with rafting...the rapids range from Class 1 (or 2??) up to Class 5.  Class 5 is the highest and it's not legal for people to raft on those.  I've done class 3 & 4 rapids often.

Fast forward to the day of the trip, Friday, June 28th.  Derek and I were carpooling with his friend.  We left relatively early and from there we were also meeting up with the rest of the guys.  After all our stops, and grocery store trips, we made it to the camp area around 5:00 p.m. or so.  On the way up, Dale asked me if I could raft because of my shoulder. I told him paddling wouldn't hurt my shoulder.  We checked out the river right near our campground (which was on an Indian Reservation and we had to follow so of their laws) and took a few photos.

We ate and went to a local bar.  Derek and I met a couple of strange nice people and had fun talking to them for the night. We played a few drinking games which were fun because we didn't lose and therefore, had a few shots bought for us. Derek and I had a few drinks, not too much, not too little...just right! :) 

The next day was the "lazy river rafting".  Upon paying, I realized it was the Class 3-4 river price (aka more expensive). I didn't say anything but at least I got myself prepared for some rapids.  We did the Smoky Falls route which was a 12 mile trip.  Eh...Derek's friends (well...he only knew a couple) , were really into just sitting on the river and drinking (sounds safe).  I didn't mind it as everyone else ...even those not in our group...had the same idea.  Derek and I weren't drinking (we had enough the night before) but we were up for some lazy river time.  However, a little annoying was the fact that they just kept trying to mess around (pulling people into the river, taking their oars, etc).  After a while, it was becoming annoying and Derek seemed a little irritated too.  But we hit a few of the rapids.  Some were just nice fun little ones, a few had really big (BIG) drops in them!  Wow, this was fun!  FUN!  I haven't been rafting in a while and Derek and I had a little communication problems with my paddling.  Nothing that we couldn't work out (actually never really did but we got from point A to point B just fine).

Then came the second to last set of rapids.  It was nicely named the "Lower Tea Kettle Rapids" or something close to that.  Sounds kind of like a Disney amusement park ride for kids.  Anyway, long story short.... I came, I rafted, I fell out.

Falling out of a raft is nothing new to me.  I did it when I was a teenager (and we have video to prove it).  But I happened to fall out during one of the rockier rapids and basically...this is what I think happened.  Ok, I don't know how I fell out but our raft hit a certain way, I basically tumbled backwards and to the side...boom, I'm in the water.  I went under and immediately hit my head on a rock (no, we weren't wearing helmets. I know now they had some but the place never made it a point to tell us it's a good idea).  I got really scared when my head hit because I was still underwater and my body was getting all thrown around and I was afraid I would hit my head again and maybe go unconscious!  I hit my shoulder and my knees, I tried to get air but immediately got sucked back down.  I was still holding my oar and my finger and hand got crushed.  Eventually we hit flat water and I came up for air.  Later I found out Derek ran me over with the raft twice. No wonder I couldn't get any air! Lol

When I came up, I found Derek and grabbed on to the raft.  I told Derek I hit my head. I just kept saying "I hit my head." Later I realized I must have hit it in two places.  Anyway, he told me to get int the raft.  The water was really deep (I couldn't stand) and I know from past experiences that I would not be able to get myself in the raft.  And Derek wouldn't be able to just haul me in.  He told me to hold on to the raft because we were going through another set of rapids. And then he told me to let go of his life vest. (Apparently, I was holding onto one of the straps but didn't realize it and was pulling him towards the water).  So I hit another set of rapids while holding on to the raft.  BIG MISTAKE for me to do that because as I was holding onto the raft, the rapids twisted me and boom...dislocated my shoulder.

So now, I'm holding on to the raft while finishing going through rapids, with a dislocated shoulder.  Ugh.  If I didn't hold on, I probably would have been fine.  When I got through those rapids, I told Derek I dislocated my shoulder.  He was trying to figure out what to do and how to get me either in the raft or over to the side when I finally was able to maneuver my shoulder back into place.  Not really a good thing that I can do that now myself but at least it was back in place and I wouldn't have to figure out how to try to get to an ER in the middle of the river.

Derek was having a hard time trying to paddle us over to the side (where other people were docking their rafts) so I let go and told him I would swim there and he can just paddle the boat there.  Well, I was swimming and kicking and flipping over and trying whatever I could to move, but with that life vest on, I wasn't going anywhere!  Someone else told me to grab their raft and they got me over to the side where I was able to sit on a rock. 

At first, I was laughing and joking with everyone because, in reality, I was ok now.  Derek came over and sat by me and everyone else went on doing their thing but as I started to tell him how scared I was when I hit my head and dislocated my shoulder, I just started to cry.  I just went through so much trauma that it all caught up with me.  The worst part of the whole thing was how scared I was in the water but since it all happened to so fast and I was just trying to do what was necessary to get through it, I hadn't had time to process it.  Now that I was sitting there all just hit me like a ton of bricks and I went from laughing to crying in a second.

We took a good long rest.  Derek was asking if I wanted to try to get one of the other guys in our raft so they could paddle the rest of the way instead of me but being stubborn like I am...I said I was ok and I think I can do it.  My shoulder was back in place and was just sore (as was my bleeding and swollen finger which hurt more than anything!).

We slowly rafted and the guys were taking forever anyway so we had lots of breaks.  After a while, I just wanted to be done because my head was hurting and I was tired and drained so we went on without the guys.  Come to find out there is one more set of rapids.  The Smokey Falls rapids.  As we came on to them, it didn't look bad but then I saw the steep flow of rapids and it looked FAST!

I told Derek I was just going to get down and brace myself.  I really just didn't want to fall out again.  I was hurt enough.  Our raft got turned around while going into the rapids and it was probably a good thing that I didn't see what was coming.  Derek turned around so he could see and paddle and do whatever while I wimped out in the raft.  And apparently the Smokey Falls rapids are just that...a FALL.  We went down this huge drop and our raft hit hard. I flew up and back and luckily landed in the center of the raft.  Derek immediately came and asked if I was ok. I told him I was fine.   The rest of the water was calm and the end was right there, but I couldn't paddle hard enough due to my shoulder and finger to get us out of the undertow of the rapids and they were pulling us back towards it.

I started freaking out, "Derek, I don't want to go under!"  We positioned ourselves near some rocks and just rested and waited for everyone else to come through.  This was fun as we watched the next two rafts (one of which was our friends) flip as they went down the falls.  I actually would have rather fallen out then because the water after that was calm and you could stand!  A group of boy scouts made it through ok but the next several rafts again tipped.  Not sure how my raft was one of the only ones to not flip there!  Ha!  All of our friends were finally through but the water was so deep near us that we had to try to paddle away from the falls before we could get out.  I just wanted to get out!

We tried paddling again, I paddled with everything I could muster, I tried paddling so hard...but it wasn't good enough and we were getting sucked back towards the rapids again.  Derek jumped out thinking he could stand there but as luck (bad luck) would have it, he couldn't and therefore, he couldn't drag the raft.  Now...Derek is in the water, and we are getting sucked towards the falls.  I had such an extreme anxiety attack and fear.  Derek is practically drowning and I'm not doing anything to help him!  All I could do was yell.... "DEREK!!  DEREK!!  I don't  want to go back there!  (Pointing towards the falls) I don't want to go under! I don't want to go back there!"  Over and over, that's all I said! 

Finally his friends saw we needed help and came over.  They were trying to get Derek out of the water and I just kept pointing and yelling, "I DON'T WANT TO GO BACK THERE! I DON'T WANT TO GO BACK THERE!"  Seriously, a panic attack at it's best!  Who cares about my boyfriend...I just didn't want to go back there!  lol.

Derek's friend Dale hoisted him into our raft and fell in as well.  GREAT!  I threw him my oar and told him and Derek to get me out of there! 

Ugh. We made it through. We got back. We talked and laughed and joked.  I felt really bad that I got so hurt.  I felt ridiculous!  I had rafted like 100 times in my life! 

We all went out to eat but Derek and I didn't want to drink so we went back to the camp early to sit by the fire and hit the tent early.  Derek's stomach was bothering him all day and well...I just got beat up by the river and lost the fight!  I was hurting and tired.

Just to end a perfect day...Dale came back drunk and fell over on our tent. He hit the side of my shin pretty bad and now I have a bruise from that on top of all the bruises I already had.  Nice!

I did have fun. It may not seem like it and yes, all my injuries (that part) were not fun.  But the rest of the rafting and camping was really fun. The river was beautiful. I got to spend more time with Derek which was nice.  I always see how my safety is the first and foremost thing on his mind when there is an issue (where apparently my safety is the first and foremost thing on my mind as well. Sorry babe).

Needless to say, I have to retire from extreme activities for now.  That one did me in.  It is looking like a great possibility that I need to have surgery on my shoulder as it just keeps dislocating...even in my sleep.  I will probably do that after my marathon this year.  Not looking forward to it but I hate limitations.

As far as what I hit.  I hit my head in two places, I hit my shoulder hard, both knees and my hand and finger.  I took  a couple of photos for the fond memories.  And my shoulder is sore and weak.  It's a fun time.  But I did run 8 hilly miles on Monday and was not affected so that's some good news.


  1. OUCH!! I got out of my tube once on a lazy river. That sucks ass as I don't have the arm strength to lift myself back in. That sucked and I remember the strength/fear/i can do this/oh shit's that were going thru my head. I was sore for 3 days from teh current and trying to swim against it. I cannot even imagine how you did what you did. EEKKK!

  2. Oh my gosh!! Sounds pretty crazy!!! I'm glad you are OK, but yeah, that does sound traumatic. Sometimes when you are in the moment though, you don't realize what you're doing or what's happening. That happened to me last weekend when I got lost in the woods. One minute I'm on the trail, then I went on a footpath and then suddenly I was like ... holy crap, I'm lost.

  3. Wow, that's some scary shit! I am not a very good swimmer, so I don't think I'll be rafting any time soon!

    Glad you were still able to have some fun out of the weekend though!

  4. Holy crap! I just read this for the first time... I've never been rafting before and this sounds quite dangerous! I'm glad you're okay and I hope you can get this shoulder situation figured out. It does not sound like fun at all.

    1. Kelly - surgery is looking like a very good option at this point....and very soon!