Adventures, one at a time.

National Park Tour Day 2: The River Gives A Wedgie

We were ready for some icy white water rafting this morning, but the rafting company called and said the river we were supposed to ride wasn’t cooperating and was moving much more quickly than they liked. So instead of taking us down the River of Dismemberment and Needless Disaster, our guides chose the kinder Uncompahgre River, which required neither helmets nor wetsuits but did need copious sunscreen  - of course, my finely tanned skin was ready for this voyage as Alex kindly pointed out by saying, “Hey, if you take off your shirt, you’ll blind everyone.” A basted George Hamilton, I am not.

After the mandatory safety lecture and ensuring my life jacket was cinched tighter than William Shatner’s corset, we started floating on a current swift and, to quote our guide, munchy.

That was chilly water, especially when it found its way right down your back and on further south. We hit some big waves, took a few dives (soaking the two people in the front of the boat who were from Houston and weren’t quite ready for a dousing in ice water). Alex was a creature of the river, and paddled with his entire body, leaning far in and far back, every time, as if immune from the conservation of energy.

On the hunt for Augustus Gloop

On the hunt for Augustus Gloop

Our boat went slightly out of control one time. I looked up and saw a massive branch coming right at me. So I flattened myself in the boat, but unfortunately I did so lying on my back suddenly realizing the word ‘impale’ might actually mean something. The branch plucked my hat off my head (out trainee guide saved that before it hit the water), but it scraped Suzanne’s entire body (as Suzanne says, “It was not a glancing blow.”) and dropped a big chunk of the tree into the boat, which when I saw it afterward thought it was a giant antler.

I knew our guide wasn’t happy with the collision. She articulated her disappointment by uttering a single-syllable word, made up of merely four letters. 

The rest of the trip kept dousing our front two new friends but for me in the back it was slightly bouncy and slightly splashy and quite fun.

Afterward, back at the rafting shop, we changed into dry clothes, settled the bill, and said our goodbyes. Here’s a quick note about changing rooms: if you have a little daughter and, out of curiosity, she decides to pull the changing room curtain aside, please do not pull the curtain even further open and then apologize profusely to the naked person inside and then stand there expecting a scintillating conversation. That makes for an excruciatingly long and uncomfortable ten seconds.

We had an overpriced dinner, where I was excited to try an Impossible Burger, which is a veggie burger that supposedly has the preternatural taste of beef. Unfortunately, the restaurant had to switch the Impossible Burger with the Beyond Beef burger, which came out as a thin patty of not-quite-burger, a bun, and two tomato slices, each devoid of tomato flavor.  Alex ordered fish and chips, substituting the chips for salad. The fish were tiny pinkies of fried something.

After dinner, we walked back to our little cottage. Along the way with milkshakes in hand, I pointed out a tiny, shriveled fire hydrant in someone’s front yard. Alex looked at it and said dryly, “It’s dehydrated.” And that, suddenly, had become the joke of the day.

Tomorrow: A long drive to South Dakota beckons.



National Park Tour Day 1: Even Spider-Man Gets Sweaty Palms