This I Believe

Madison - Long Beach, California
Entered on January 8, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I have had experience of this activity before: in Catalina and in the bay around my house. But it was nothing like this:

It was Spring Break ’05 and I was on a kayak / river rafting optional trip. After river rafting a while with my group, I decide to jump into the one-person river kayak. No one told me you could get this much thrill from a kayak. I was pulled aside by my instructor, and he gave me a look of caution. I was nervous, for I didn’t know what was coming. He told me that the largest rapid in the river was approaching, and if I wanted, I could go down it on the kayak.

Because I believe in adventure, my answer was, “Of course I want to go down the rapid!” As my instructor gave me directions and tips on how to go down this winding, fast rapid, the group of rafters went ahead. While listening to him, I saw my friends paddle hard and quick, hitting the boulder. The river seemed to control them, and it looked like they couldn’t do anything to stop it. Once I understood my instructions to follow right behind him in my kayak, I noticed the rafters were down, and had emergency devices ready at hand for me. When I started turning towards the rapid, I had no idea it was this big of a deal. That I might get stuck on the huge rock in the middle of this crazy rapid. Or that I might flip over on the dangerous waves. Or that the rapid would conquer me, and I would actually need to grasp onto the emergency tube. But of course, this never passed my mind, because I was born for adventure.

Creating a mental picture of where he made his path, I quickly got sucked into the mad rapid. Following him close behind, my kayak was like a sea-saw. Moving side to side, I tried to control it. My energy was uplifted, and my heart was racing. The rock seemed much larger three feet away. My experienced instructor slid past the rock with hitting his side on it, turning him in every direction, and quickly down the rapid.

Now it seemed as if I was alone on this wild rapid, because now my instructor was far-gone. I had no time to think of what I was doing, other than avoiding that rock, and flipping over and DYING. I was scared, but I somehow controlled my fear and just missed the rock by a centimeter. I was alive!

I made it through the hardest rapid, and now everyone around me was screaming and congratulating me from the rocks beside the river.

The adventure within this rapid made me realize how much thrill is needed in your life to make it exciting. I grew in so many ways on this rapid that I now can do almost anything that involves adventure.