“(Wo)man over board” should have been the motto of our rafting “extravaganza” along the Ocoee River in TN last weekend as some of our crew members fell overborad amidst the rapids. Luckily they all made it back out.
The whole GACC South crew and our collegues from Houston departed Atlanta Friday afternoon for Benton TN. The ride was set to be two hours, however as nothing ever goes according to plan, it took a little longer. We made it though, and happily arrived at our comfy tent camp in the early evening, soon to find out that the most useful thing we brought along was insect repellent. There were mosquitos everywhere!!! About an hour later things had calmed down and we had a nice little camp fire going. Keep in mind it was still around 85 degrees outside. Nonetheless…
we rallied around the fire after having worked up a sweat finding the fire wood in the first place. Once things started to settle down we started our barbeque with burgers and bratwurst, along with some beer and wine.
The first couple of us crawled into the tents around midnight, while the last ones were seen at three in the morning, trying to keep the fire burning as long as possible. Evidence of their attempts was clearly visible in the morning as soon as the first risers stared packing up, clearing out the tents and loading the vans.
We then officially began the morning with a solid communal breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon and biscuits; just enough calories for our exhausting trip on the water.
After the introduction we received our rafting outfits, including life-saving vests, helmets and paddles which made the entire crew look like an army of red-white Lego figures.
And then we finally got into the water. We started slowly since the river wasn’t very steep in the beginning. But that changed soon: We went up and down and round and round, trying not to hit the rocks with our rafts. Nonetheless, the first one went overboard after 20 minutes, the next one followed a few minutes later. But after 120 turbulent minutes in the floods we had finally made it through. We were all hyped up with adrenaline as we reached the banks and pulled our rafts back out of the water. All of the tossing and turning really got us excited. As a matter of fact, some of us were ready to do it all over again right away, however no less than 30 minutes later most of us had exchanged the rafting enthusiasm for the comfort of sleeping in the van.
After the 20 minute ride back to the camp site we changed and made ourselves ready to g back home. All but the two who had not rafted were happily exhausted as we boarded the vans and set off into the sun set. Well not quite, it was still afternoon, but it felt like we had done a whole day worth of adventure. We really had a blast!