On our second full day in Moab, Gene and I went on a river rafting trip. I had never been before and Gene had only gone as a child so we figured we should give it a go. We hopped on a bus with 80 other rafters and drove 45 minutes, through the scenic route we had driven two days prior, to a spot at the Colorado River that was our entry point. Our river guide, Zhanna, or Captain Z, helped us get in our raft and off we went down the river for the next five hours. Most of the rafting was calm and relaxing. We had to paddle a bit but Captain Z told us about the river, Utah, and herself as we went. I got to know the family that was on the raft with us and it was pleasant visiting with everyone. The whole trip wasn’t relaxing, however, as we did go through a few rapids. I had chosen a raft adventure that had the slowest rapids, since I wasn’t sure what I was getting into.
I think we went through four or five rapids and I’d say I was somewhat scared for three of them. It’s a tiny bit silly; while fear is definitely a valid feeling, I knew that I’d be okay and get through it. I think what it came down to was that I really really didn’t want to fall out of the raft, even if I knew I’d be okay, and that focused my attention. So with each rapid I would lean into the boat (supposedly it helps you not fall out) and I’d try to paddle as the choppy water hit me and the boat. Honestly, I was not the best paddler during those times. I definitely did my best but I laugh thinking about it now. I think we all kind of suffered, each time we went through a rapid, Zhanna would shout at us to “keep paddling”, “paddle in sync”, and “paddle harder so we can get out of this”.
At the time, I thought I was doing a decent job at paddling but then I looked up the photographs that were taken of us from Moab Action Shots and saw that my paddle wasn’t even touching the water in any of the shots. Oops. Now I see why Captain Z was encouraging us to keep going. River rafting may not be my thing.
With all that said, the rapids were still fun and parts were even enjoyable. Water soaked me and the raft went up and down as we hit waves. After a couple of hours we beached so we could have lunch. It was a nice break and all of our raft guides prepared a sandwich buffet for us which I thought was both really cute and filling to my hungry body.
The second half of our rafting trip was a bit harder because the wind decided to push against us, and while it felt nice and cool to my face, it made paddling really hard and it meant we had to paddle more often to make progress. We got to our end point in the late afternoon and by that time I was tired. River rafting was fun and I’m glad I experienced it, but it wasn’t as fun as I was expecting. I’m not exactly sure why. I’d definitely give it one more try but I won’t be seeking it out.
A nice shower lifted my energy enough that I could walk two blocks to a restaurant for some mac and cheese and onion rings. Afterward, we wandered into the food truck park where I got a snow cone. I know how to eat when I’m on vacation! I generally like snow cones but they’re very hard to find so this made my day. I got grape and watermelon as my flavors. Grape is a classic and is always good. This was no exception. I’d skip watermelon next time though, too sweet.
After filling ourselves with food and sweets, Gene and I headed back into Canyonlands National Park. We hadn’t gotten to see all of the Island of Sky district the previous day and we both loved the scenery so much we wanted to check the rest of it out. There were yet again gorgeous overlooks and endless canyons. There was one spot with no barriers so Gene dangled his legs over a drop. That was a bit frightening but he survived and acknowledged his mortality.
We saw more landscape that looked like it came from dinosaur times and went on a short hike to see Upheaval Dome. A natural rock formation, scientists are still debating how it was formed, deciding between a meteor or a more natural route. Regardless of how it got there, it was pretty, especially since we arrived right before sunset so the lighting was basically ideal. I really liked the flowers and plants that I found along that hike as well. There was this beautiful plant with fuzzy green leaves. I’m working on a photo album so I’ll include a picture of it in that. We hiked back to the car and worked our way back to the motel for the night.