I can't swim. I mean, I can manage okay with a sloppy stroke and I can doggy-paddle for days on end. But if it came to it, and I seriously needed to save a life, perhaps my own, well... let's just say it probably wouldn't end well. I remember my brother, Brandon, taking lessons at the downtown pool when we were kids. I'm not sure if my parents were hoping to get a two-fer deal and have Brandon teach me on his own after his extensive two week course, or if they realized they might be over their heads kids-wise and wanted to weed out the weakling. And should that happen via accidental drowning, then so be it.
Turns out the accident they always hoped for never happened, so here I am, all 26 years of me, with the skill level of child. It's a bit unnerving to be out in open water, mainly because I may be able to get myself out there with haphazard strokes and spaghetti arms, but coming back in is another story. And it's supes awkward to be like 'hey, can some one drag me back in? I swear, I'm lighter in water, but I may have pooped myself from the stress of swimming, so there are some personal risks you're going to have to take.'
So here we are this weekend, at a beautiful campsite in Coloma, CA. Our tent is just feet from the water, and when we arrive it's calm and cool and absolutely beautiful. We waded out from the edge to the middle and never once did the water go higher than my stomach. Okay, not so bad.
Enter Saturday. That's odd, the river looks a touch higher today. And where are those rocks we were on yesterday? What the hockey sticks?! It turns out, they have a dam up river, and they open it up for the white water rafters at 10 am, and by our best judgements the water level rose between 18-24 inches.
Thankfully no one had to save me. Justin did get knocked over just trying to get in his tube. If you ever need a good laugh, watch the face of a man who thinks he is about to go sailing down a rushing river, his butt about to be accosted by massive rocks, ready and willing to get the job done. No means no, river. No means no.
At that point Swanny and Amber had gone back to the campsite, and it was just me and J out on the water. We were approaching the spot we wanted to land at, on the right, so naturally our tubes were keeping it nice and steady to the left of the river. Right in the middle of the river was one this big stack of rocks, each the size of melons, which the boys dubbed the Rock of Gibraltar.
So Justin has this plan. I swear, I am not making this up.
"Okay, babe. When we go past the Rock of Gibraltar I'm going to grab on and it's going to sling shot us to the right."
"What'd you say? I got river water in my mouth. And I just peed in here like five minutes ago. I essentially just peed in my own mouth."
"Alright babe, here it comes!"
The man grabs ahold of the rocks. I hold on for dear life to his tube.
We slingshot; it worked! I get flipped around and no longer have eyes on J. But I know his plan has gone south when I hear the distinct sound of rocks, lots of them, tumbling.
The man knocked over the Rock of Gibraltar.
I peek over my shoulder to see the aftermath. It's gone...all of it. Even better, there are about 25 people wading on the shore who all got to witness Justin destroying someone's river art, mouths gaping. Most likely they probably also heard me yelling about peeing in the water, so already we were on their list. Both of us are in near tears laughing. Like, deep down belly laughs, all while trying to dismount the river. (Do you dismount a river? Someone look into that for me, because I'm not really into fact checking right now.) Justin finally hopped off his tube and was dragged me and my limp-from-laughter body to the edge where we had to do the Walk of Shame. Which, I might point out, is even more awkward when you're doing it in water moccasins. No one can look cool in those things, but I find there is strength in numbers.
I gave the river-goers a shrug and an "our bad" hand gesture. And then I realized that we just gave them like, one of the best river stories ever, and they should be thanking us. With that in my mind, it made it a lot easier to march off in my water moccs and a slight wedgie.
You're welcome, river people. You're welcome.
The river, when the dam was shut. Dam near deceiving, if I say so myself.