By Mike Archer. As I went over the edge of the raft into the glacier-fed rapids I lost all sense of time and place, I couldn’t see or breathe and all I could do was flail my way desperately to the surface.
I was never so relieved as I was when I felt someone grab me by my life preserver, count one-two-three and haul me aboard to safety. I was immediately instructed to do the same for Wayne, the other unfortunate passenger flailing desperately in the water beside the raft.
Luckily it was a practice run in a small lake on the Nahatlatch River about 15 km northeast of Boston Bar. We were being prepared for our trip down the rapids at the other end of the lake and our guides, Tom and Liz, had us well in hand.
I was lucky enough to be on a team building exercise with the staff of FIOSA-MIOSA, (the Food Industry and Manufacturing Industry Occupational Safety Alliance of BC)
REO Rafting scares the hell out of you before you set foot in any of their rafts by going through a safety training talk and practice so you won’t panic and hurt yourself if you do get ejected from the raft. They have a safety expert paddling in a kayak along beside you as you make your descent and ensure everybody on the raft understand what to do in the event of a ‘man overboard’ situation.
Watching the guides pilot the rafts down the more dangerous stretch of rapids above our starting point on their own was an important reminder that, with or without our amateur paddling, they were pros and could pilot us home safety with or without our help.
All of the fear and trepidation left everyone in the raft as we began our way down the rapids, hit our first enormous wave, swallowed river water and paddled furiously top the commands being shouted at us. The other two frightened men on the boat, Aldo and Andrew, were ore intent on paddling than being afraid so I followed their example and dipped my paddle over the side.
After digging through thin air the raft came down with a thud and we were slapped in the face with a wave the size of a Volkswagon.
“Forward,” yelled Tom and we dug deep into the water to bring the raft across to the other side of the narrow river.
“Stop,” he yelled and we pulled our paddles from the boiling water. I could swear we went under water but I was assured it was merely another Volkswagon sized wave.
After navigating two more sets of rapids my courage had found itself and I realized I was having a blast.
It was Andrew’s manic laughing that made me realize this was better than any amusement park ride I had ever experienced.
Every time we hit a swell or a wave Andrew let out the most inspiring laughter I later told him, “If I go to hell I want you along with me to enjoy the trip.”
The thought that Fraser and Thompson’s men did what we were doing in 30-ft canoes on the Fraser when BC was busy being discovered suddenly inspired and I realized that, whatever, more dangerous rapids were ahead, I could attack them and conquer them like the explorer I had become.
By then it was time to pull over to the side of the river, pack the rafts onto the trailer and bus back up to our starting point where lunch was waiting for us.
Simon Fraser wasn’t such a tough guy. This was fun. Best fun I’ve ever had out of bed.
(I’m so glad they put us through the scary part at the beginning – Thanks Tom, Liz and safety guy Ross. It was an awesome experience. I’ll be back real soon. And to everyone at FIOSA-MIOSA; Lisa, Heinrich, Terry, Andrew, Wayne, Aldo, Roline and Jane … thanks for fabulous, and safe, adventure. Lorne was working in the Interior but with us in spirit).
REO Rafting Resort
REO is blessed with one of the most amazing locations right on the edge of the beautiful, jade-green Nahatlatch (Nah-hat-latch) River. This amazing river offers 12 km of rapid-fire white water (37 rapids rated Class 3, 4 & 4+) finishing right at our private and secluded river’s edge resort.
Far more than just world class whitewater rafting, our resort covers 25-acres of wilderness seclusion with 2 km of private river frontage. When you are not rafting, you can try your hand at rock rappelling and take a hike on one of our many nature trails. You can also stay around camp and have a soak in the hot-tub, enjoy some music around the campfire or maybe even treat yourself to a well deserved massage! When the day is done, sleep at the river’s edge in one of our cabin tents, and enjoy the sound of the rushing river.
Whether you’re looking for your next family vacation adventure, fun with a group of friends, a company team-building event or simply want an unforgettable experience, we are confident that REO will exceed your every expectation.
Join REO in 2012 for our 30th year of whitewater rafting and outdoor adventure in British Columbia, Canada. The REO Rafting Resort is one of the most picturesque and unique rafting resorts in the world. We offer whitewater rafting on the Nahatlatch River (Class 3-4), Stein (Class 5), Thompson (Class 3) and Fraser River (Class 1-2)….amazing to find this many diverse rivers in the same area! Enjoy a peaceful stay right on the rivers edge!
For the best whitewater rafting trips and family adventure
vacations near Vancouver BC, Whistler, Seattle & Vancouver
Island, British Columbia, paddle with the pros on the
Nahatlatch, Thompson, Stein and Fraser Rivers.
For More On REO Rafting Click Here.
Originally published 21/07/12