Rafting on the Wenatchee
7:49 pm: I thought the river rafting trip was supposed to be tomorrow. I woke up this morning, at 9, thinking that I'd really like to take a walk with Jet, if folks were going to go out and do that kind of thing. The cabin got busy and noisy at about 8, though Jet was up at 7. John got up with Jet, and took care of him while I slept in.
I was pretty bleary when I got up. I guess the wet head of hair did it again. Everyone was cooking breakfasts of various types, and there was a griddle for pancakes along with bowls of yogurt, fruit and other things. Folks were eating and talking and having fun. It was good.
Jet had already eaten his banana and lots of other stuff. He was running around when I got up and he was cheerful as anything. He had juice, had eaten part of a pancake and basically had been grazing off of anyone that would give him anything. He wanted a little of my pancake, but then got a hold of a plum and ate that and put a lot of it on his shirt. Luckily, it was a Hawaiian print that took to the stain easily. I was glad of that.
Eventually, he tried to climb into my lap. So I went upstairs, nursed him and he went to sleep for an hour and a half. That was shorter than I thought he'd sleep, but longer than yesterday, so I was glad of what I could get.
He woke up at about 11:30, and got just enough time with us to realize we were around before we had to change and leave. Oops. Poor little guy. I heard him crying and screaming the whole way up the hill.
But then the kids came up the hill while we were waiting up there for everyone else. Isabel came up with Jet doing the walking, and I didn't hear a peep from him. John said that he'd been swinging with the others soon after we left, and had seemed entirely happy, then. I'm glad I don't worry too hard.
We headed out to Leavenworth and beyond. We had four cars, three of which went to the rafting company's take out point, and the fourth went to meet up with Paul's airplane to get everyone from the airfield near the take out area. We got there a little late, and there was a whole other party there partially from Chicago. We barged in, got things signed, got into booties and life jackets.
One guide said that the predicted temperature was 102 today. They recommended that we don't wear the wet suits, which was pretty novel for me. I got lucky. I'd packed a pair of shorts to change into when things were over, and I'd worn my one other pair of shorts over my swimsuit. So not having a wet suit wasn't a problem. I just wore my swimsuit and my shorts. I got slathered with three different types of sunscreen, and made sure everything was covered.
It took a while for everyone to get ready. It took even longer for all the guides to get ready. The lead rafter went through all the safety precautions and then our guide went through not only her rowing instructions but some more safety precautions as well. My raft had seven of us: Cathie, Walt, Jan, George, Yuri, John, and I. Quite a rambunctious crew, on the most part, and a good set of rowing partners, all around.
I really liked having Jan in our boat. I haven't gotten to interact with her as much as I would have liked before this point, and it was great to have the direct interaction with her in an environment that she knows so well and enjoys so much. She and Paul used to do a lot of rafting, before Marina, and she knows the techniques. The left side of the raft had Jan, Yuri, me, and John on it from the back to the front. Whenever we rowed we would push the raft a bit to the right.
The amusing thing is that much later, when John, Yuri and I all swapped to the other side, the raft was still going a bit to the right. So it may well have been Jan that was the difference.
There were four big rapids, true 3's. Other than that it was a bunch of ripples, bumps, and a few neat spots that were fun to try and get into, to surf or to eddy out into a cave. It was a fun run, not too challenging, but not boring, either. The four big ones were very exciting, holes big enough to look like they'd swallow the raft, waves large enough to give good splash, and one kicker that knocked John into my back so hard, that he fell out.
The kicker was near the end of a series. And we'd fought through two big holes when we hit a combination of a hole and wave that basically sprung the back of the raft up while the front was kicking down. The guide was knocked to the floor of the raft, and she hung on in there as she knew we'd be lost without her. When we hit the wave part of it I'd dug in with both feet, making sure they were solidly under the tubs, and then I felt John hit my back hard. I used my legs to push back against his momentum and they were solidly enough planted on the boat that I didn't move. John did.
Jan was the one that pulled John into the boat. She seems tiny, about five feet plus a little, but she's solid. She just took John, who is a big guy, by his shoulder straps and with one pull, he was in the raft. Yow. I think that just seeing that made me see her in a new light.
We had fun. We swapped people forward for the big rapids. Yuri had never been in front before, and while John and Walt talked themselves blue in the face about how fun it was, Yuri wouldn't listen to them. Finally, I offered to go up front with Yuri. He took me up on that offer, and had a blast. It really is the best ride in the boat, because we get to see everything before the boat hits it. We're face first into the waves and holes. Our paddles are first to dip and pull and we set the pace for the rest of the raft. That's pretty cool.
We got a face full of water on our rapid, too. I had fun reminding Yuri to go head first into it, to really lean toward the wave and hit it. I don't really know how much physical difference it makes in the power or ability of the paddle stroke; but it sure feels a lot more fun to hit a wave than to let it hit you and slap you around. He had a great time.
Later, after all the rapids, we all played bucking bronco. Someone would take the tie up rope and get up on the bow, using the rope as one of the three supports, their legs as the other two. Then the rowers would spin the boat until the person was knocked off, jumped off, or fell off. The real trick is to Let Go Of The Rope when one falls, as the rope can easily take off a few heads. It's pretty scary when someone doesn't let go.
We all went, so I had a go at it, and had a blast. I got a good, solid stance, and when I heard them saying, "Go the other way! Go the other way!" I decided it was as good a time to let go as any. So I let go, jumped back out into the water, and yelped when I hit. The Wenatchee is mountain runoff, i.e. ice melt. Even in the terribly hot weather, the cold was a sharp shock. Dark and wet and wonderful and just a few minutes was enough to quench the heat of sitting out in the sun on the river. Yuri and Cathie got me out that time, and later, Jan and I jumped in just to jump in. That was fun. We thought it would be a good antidote to the heat once we were out, and Jan was right.
I changed at the take-out point and we drank lemonade and planned who would go with whom when, and Jan and I were in the designated Mothers' Car, on a mission to rescue Isabel from the babies. She'd had Jet, Marina, and Simon all afternoon, with her brother John, who couldn't do stairs. We thought she might need rescuing, so when John gave us the choice of going home the way we'd come, which he was uncertain of, or the sure way home, the two of us picked the sure way home.
When we got there, Jet took one look at me and kept going the way he'd been going. After all the crying in the morning, he was perfectly content to ignore me while he finished what he was doing. I loved that. It amazed Isabel.
He'd been pretty good all day. He'd had one tumble off the patio at the Jordan lodge, as the edge he was trying to get off of us much, much deeper than most of the steps he tries. He'd also gotten jealous of Marina at one point, and had actually grabbed and taken a book Isabel was reading to Marina. It was as if he couldn't stand that Isabel was paying attention only to Marina. Oops. But other than that he'd been good, though he hadn't really eaten all that much and he'd only had a twenty minute nap.
Eventually he did come to me, and I changed him and then nursed him and he went right to sleep. I guess it had tired him out. He only slept an hour, which was good, as he'd already had a nap in the morning.
One amazing thing was that since we've come to the Lodge we've been changing Jet on the pad from his diaper bag. We haven't been using a changing table. Today, when Jet saw the changing pad, he peered at it and then maneuvered around until he was facing away from the short end of the pad and then he sat down and lay down so that he was on the pad!! He then grinned at me, and put his feet up! This is quite the change from at home when he starts crying the moment he's put on the changing table, and it's very, very helpful. I wonder if Joan taught him this, or if he just figured it out for himself? I'll have to ask her sometime.
Mary arrived in the meantime, with a huge King salmon from Alaska, for about five dollars a point, and it was both sides of the huge fish. She also brought a few dozen fresh oysters, and she and David went to work preparing the fish and oysters while the rest of us cut bread, roasted garlic for the bread, and made salad.
I crushed two heads of garlic for the salmon and the oysters' garlic butter. It was pretty magnificent. They served the oysters both raw and fresh, and they were briny, buttery, and wonderful. The salmon was perfectly moist, flavorful, and had that firmness of a fish caught that day. Yum. I ate huge hunks of it.
Jet ate, maybe, some bread. He was too caught up in all the other kids running around to really pay attention to eating anything. I decided to just not worry about it, he'd catch up later if he needed to.
Some folks started playing foosball, and watching John play brought back a lot of college memories. Jet loved watching, and he perched in my arms and watched every move that was made, quietly. I'm amazed he had that kind of concentration, but he really liked being up there and seeing what it was we were doing.
People were walking, talking, and running in and out and doing all kinds of stuff. I gradually came down with a horrible headache, and I finally gave up and asked John to take care of Jet, when Jet nursed at 10 and gave no indication of going to sleep. He accepted Jet, and I just took two extra strength Tylenol and went to bed.
I fell asleep instantly.
I only woke up when John came in with Jet and he laid Jet down to sleep. I peered at my watch and found out that it was 12:30! Eek. Poor John, but all was quiet and I just dropped back into sleep. I guess I needed it badly.