Have you ever been white-water rafting? I have, and it was one of the most exhilarating, exciting, scream-inducing activities I’ve ever experienced. It was while I was on a trekking trip to Nepal with Canadian Himalayan Expeditions back in 1985.
The first part of the adventure, after a week in Kathmandu acclimatising to the altitude, included an astonishingly beautiful and challenging eleven-day trek complete with Sherpas and porters, that took me and my newfound fellow adventurers up to 4380m – high into the Langtang region of the Himalaya to the sacred pilgrimage site of Gosaikunda, a group of three lakes high up in the sky where Shiva was meant to have created them by thrusting his trident into the earth. And then we carried on back down to Kathmandu again.
After the return to Kathmandu and a few days to recover from all the exertions of the trek, the second part of the adventure unfolded.
Take Me to the River
Yes, that fabulous Al Green song certainly played a continuous loop in my head as we ventured, once again, into the unknown!
This second leg of the journey involved a lengthy drive south on the roof of a crazily decorated bus and after that, we transferred to a convoy of army jeeps to where we were to pick up a guide and his porters and embark on a four-day white-water rafting trip down the Trishuli River.
It would involve camping out under the stars along the river and culminate at a ‘right out of the storybooks’ safari camp complete with elephants and white rhinos in the Chitwan Jungle on the northern border of India. (Sadly, no tigers were spotted.)
What a Thrill
The white-water rafting experience was extraordinary. Like nothing I had ever done when it comes to high energy and fear inducing madness. Hitting the water in a big rubber raft with 6 novices on board plus our highly skilled (thank god) helmsman from of all places, California – armed only with a helmet, life jacket and a paddle just didn’t seem all that safe once we were underway!!
A Trip Down the Trishuli
The river was raging, the rocks were the size of houses and the ‘holes’ were fifty feet deep – or so it seemed – and gaped beneath us as we rode up into the air. The raft sort of folded up for a moment that seemed a lifetime each time we hit a ‘hole,’ and the helmsman would be screaming at us all to “P-A-D-D-L-E, P-A-D-D-L-E NOW, HARDER”.
I recall thinking, “But how do you paddle when you’re airborne?” Should we paddle the air? Then down we’d go and hit the water with a whoosh and a face full of the icy cold river, and race along and then up we’d go again and fly through the air paddling madly before crashing down with a huge splash.
I dared not look behind me but I think most of us just held on for dear life with our legs squeezing tightly around the raft’s gunnels and a free hand clinging mightily to the raft’s ropes – taking the river’s fury and spray full on.
We’d finally be through the rapids and float into calm waters, and head for shore to take a rest, have a bite to eat and laugh about it all.
There we all were, still alive, no one had lost their lunch, and we were fully pumped up despite looking like six frazzled bumble bees in our bright yellow and black striped life vests and helmets. All we needed were some antennae to complete the picture.
What a blast!
Discover the Thrill of White-water Rafting, Right Here at Home
You too can experience the thrills and exhilaration of a white-water rafting experience. Right here in your own backyard!
Here’s the thing. Where better to go if you want to stay home and avoid the hassles of travel these days? You don’t have to venture off to the other side of the world to go white-water rafting. Canada is full of roiling, pristine rivers where similar rafting adventures abound. Certainly, the rivers coursing through BC, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec are exceptional and you can probably find opportunities in almost every other province as well, or maybe – and this is a destination I want to explore – the white-water experiences up in the Yukon territory.
Maybe Next Summer!
There are opportunities for every type of adventure from day trips to weekend getaways or even longer trips if that’s what you’re looking for. Some outfitters may include meals and camping options, along with all the equipment you’ll need to experience this sort of adventure to the utmost.
Give it a try this summer, or if it’s too late to go or everything’s already booked up, plan now for next summer. It’ll take your breath away, and while you’re at it, so will the scenery!