When we went to Bryson City, one of the things on the top of Mitchell’s bucket list was white water rafting. I have been white water rafting once before, in Colorado, and I’m working on a post detailing that experience so I don’t want to drag you into the details now, but let’s just say it was not what I was expecting absolutely horrible. Despite my awful experience, I agreed to go white water rafting anyways (earning those good girlfriend points, ya know).
We had already checked off most of the things we had planned for that weekend, so on our last day we woke up and headed out to one of the recommended companies for white water rafting. Before loading the bus to take us to our rafting site, we had our safety briefing. This is where you basically learn about how you could die or lose every limb on your body. Even though all of this information was a repeat for me, I was literally shaking in my [rented] boots. While we listened to the briefing, I was sizing up all of the guides, secretly hoping for one of the guides by the name of “Papi”. Luck was on my side, because that’s who we were paired with, along with two other couples.
We carried our raft into the water while I detailed my awful experience to Papi. We got into the water and hit our first rapid. And I didn’t hate it! It turns out that when you’re properly trained, you don’t fall in the water (stay tuned to hear more about that one later)! This company did a great job on training us what to do, and I felt prepared. Within minutes of hitting the water, I was enjoying myself!
The weather on the day of our rafting trip is the kind that September dreams are made of. Despite the perfect weather, however, the water was absolutely frigid. If the idea of cold water makes you shudder, I would recommend renting (or bringing) a wetsuit; I was honestly having too much fun to notice the cold water, or maybe I was just still a little terrified, who knows, but Papi told us that even on the hottest days of summer, the water is cold.
The biggest rapid was at the very end of our 2 ½ hour trip, and we must have hit it just right, because my entire side of the raft fell into the water (my biggest fear). My boyfriend pulled me back in, so I didn’t go anywhere, but after the excitement, we were casually floating along and laughing about what had happened when someone realized that Papi had also fallen it! Other guides from the company pulled us to shore and about 20 minutes later everyone who had fallen in finally made their way back to us. No one was hurt, and it was hysterical. The coolest part? Even though falling in was my biggest fear, it didn’t scare me!
When we got back to the company’s shop, another employee told us that it had probably been 10 years since Papi had fallen in, and I’m happy to have been a part of that. We were told that when a guide falls in, they have to buy beer for all the other guides that night, and that in the off-season, the guides buy big inflatable toys from WalMart to see who can make it over the rapids. Can you imagine a group of adult men floating down rapids on a blow-up pool? These guys are so fun-loving and adventurous.
This was such an incredible experience, and it felt so good to face my fears. Mitchell and I have already talked about going back and doing it again. I won’t be doing it in an inflatable pool, but I would be happy to do it with any of the guides!