|We survived the wild waters of the
New River in West Virginia
“Who wants to ride on the bull-nose,” Seth asked my excited but tired children during the calm before the last rapid series on our New River whitewater rafting trip in West Virginia.
I think the children only heard, “Who wants to ride…” before all five hands shot up. One of the twins—our youngest—was quickest.
“Okay,” Seth said as I started to tremble. “Now position yourself on the bull-nose of the raft [the front nose of the raft], legs out, facing the rapids. Hold the rope with one hand, one arm up, and shout ‘Yahoo!’ as the raft plunges into the rapid.”
I started screaming. “Are you crazy, Seth?”
He just smiled and shrugged.
“I’ve spent the whole trip trying to keep the children in the raft during rapids and you want one of them to ride the raft like a bull?”
“She’s wearing a life jacket.”
“As she falls into the hydraulics of the rapids and rocks and the raft covers her!”
My husband said I was becoming hysterical—again. “Seth wouldn’t have suggested it if it wasn’t safe.”
“Safe for whom?!” I screeched.
The twin did ride the nose over the rapid, but I noticed her squeak her rump back into the raft as opposed to sitting on the lip. As soon as the raft nosed into the hydraulic, she slipped herself into the raft bottom, arm still up, still shouting “Yahoo!” as instructed.
We all thought she was brave, but I still glared at Seth who just smiled at me.
Remember that the guides do know the river and what is safe to do at the time and conditions of the river, but you are the parents. You are always in control of what your family participates in and what you’d rather just ride through.
Another thing we learned on this river trip was to wear synthetic fabrics. They don’t hold the water like cotton does. Therefore you feel dryer and stay warmer especially if you raft in the springtime. Shoes are very important; sneakers are best as they are stronger than water shoes and tie on your feet. You always need to consider that you will tumble out of the raft and have to negotiate the rocks and boulders as you bob downstream feet first [always feet first!]. Life jackets are life savers when whitewater rafting. Believe it.
Whitewater rafting is exhilarating, surprising, and strenuous. But oh so fun! There are age limitations that must be met for children to accompany the journey. Have you ever faced the whitewater on a raft?