June 2, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend 2013 | Rafting Part 2

 Tyne watched the 3 girls while the couples got to raft - thank you!  I'm glad I didn't realize that we would be doing class IV rapids before I got in the raft or I think I would have been more nervous than excited.  I also felt bad for Devin and Patrick because they were the only ones in our raft who have ever done much rafting, so they were probably working a lot harder than the rest of us. It was really fun though! There's an exciting jittery feeling you get when you see the water disappear after a boulder and wonder what you'll face on the other side...but not such a great feeling if at this point you get thrown out of the raft and know you'll have to face it all on your own, which is what happened to Devin the third time he went down this part of the river...
 ^^The last group that went on Monday. Devin, Patrick, Tyne, Callie, and Bryce.
^^This is a pic from Saturday doing the same run, but where the raft is in this pic is probably close to where Devin fell out because it was at the top before the rapids started. 

See the unraveling below (taken by Race from the rocks along the river):
 ^^Devin is under water for both pics above (he was holding onto his paddle almost the whole time). There were actually about 4 pics between the two pictures above and Devin's head never surfaces in any of them!
 ^^And there he is...already so far away.

Callie said that at one point, with Devin gone, Patrick had them all "hunker" which means get down in the center of the raft.  This was because for how much they were getting thrown around, their paddling efforts weren't worth the risk of losing someone else.

Patrick couldn't leave the raft to get to Devin until they were out of the rapids and he knew the raft could hold its own without him there.  Because it was so cold that day, Devin had lots of layers on including a waterproof jacket that was filling up with water and making it harder for him to stay afloat. Devin said later that he was losing energy and breath FAST.  There was never time to get the air needed to sustain him underwater and prepare for the next wave that was going to push him under.  Patrick aborted the raft and finally got to Devin when he realized he was not holding up very well (it almost looked like he was just floating down the river having a good ol' time - it was hard to tell if he was struggling or not). It's a good thing he got to Devin when he did because Devin said that his energy went from 100% when he fell out of the raft to less than 10% when Patrick got to him.  He had started to black out and couldn't hear anything.  Scary!  Luckily he never hit his head on any rocks, but he did get pretty banged up on his elbows and knees.  He/we are SO thankful that nothing worse happened.

This was the only picture that I took of it.  I had my camera all ready to snap photos/video of them coming through the rapids, but as soon as I saw Devin floating outside the raft, I couldn't take my eyes off of him because I had to know that he was okay.  I got the worst feeling and knew that we had no time to lose, so I quickly snapped this pic and we ran back to the cars and raced to the next pull off spot to see if they caught up to him.  By the time we got there, the raft made its way to the side of the river and Patrick had swam Devin there so that he could get out when we got there. Patrick was ordering us to get him in ALL dry clothes, food, water, and don't let him fall asleep (at the time we didn't know if he hit his head on anything) - Devin was so drained that he could barely talk.
    I don't have any more pictures because the next hour was spent running around like chickens with our heads cut off getting dry clothes, food, and water for him and asking him millions of questions to make sure he was okay.  If you know Devin, you know this probably drove him crazy.  Luckily once he was dry and able to just sit in the truck for a little while with some food and water he felt tons better.  I was so scared to let him drive his truck to the spot where we were picking up the raft, but he absolutely insisted - saying it would help him get more energy/awareness.  I reluctantly let him and he was right - it kept him from falling asleep and he felt much better as time went on.

He still doesn't know how exactly he fell out, and neither does anyone else - it happened so fast at such a random time that they didn't realize he DID fall out until too late.  It was his 3rd time going down that rapid that weekend even. I'm not glad that it happened to him, but he is a really strong swimmer so I would have hated to see it happen to someone who might not have been and see things end worse.  At first Devin said he was never going rafting again - but I knew that wouldn't exactly be the case because he loves that stuff too much!  So, soon after getting home, he found someone on Craigslist selling a rafting helmet and a 25lb test life jacket.  He's now prepared for anything :)

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