Tuesday, September 07, 2010

'Thank God for Title IX' — my American River Adventure

Since nearly all human experience is disintermediated nowadays, there is of course a YouTube video of just the site of my adventure on Labor Day. 
As nearly as I can reconstruct, we crashed into the large rock at the end of the Parallel Parking chute; the rock is very briefly visible in the near right foreground at 1:27 of this video. Barb and I were thrown out the left side of the raft, which then bumped the Parking Garage wall and continued through Catapult Rapid, without us.
Barb surfaced and swam to the left bank, away from Catapult. I am not nearly as strong a swimmer and so was washed through Catapult, roughly down the chute seen at 1:42. I was underwater for some time (surely less than it seemed) and distinctly remember the strange quality of the green, filtered light and the cloud of bubbles that surrounded us. I tried to push Barb upward (she remembers only being touched, or restrained) but we quickly separated. I broke the surface for one breath but was then caught in the waves and couldn't predict when my head would surface. It did now and then and I gulped air (and some water). I was trying, with limited success, to float as we'd been instructed, feet downstream and head up. Judging from the large contusion on my upper left thigh and various other scrapes, I did encounter some rocks, though I don't remember that. 
Somewhere at the end of Catapult Rapids (after the spot where the crew "high fives" in this video) I swept past our number two raft, unable to reach them. Shortly thereafter I caught up with my own raft, which was waiting. I missed the first paddle extended toward me but was able to grab Maureen's longer guide's paddle. She pulled me up to the boat, grabbed my life jacket and yanked me into the raft like I was a little kid.
She's not a big girl. I'd peg her in her late 20s, a classic California blonde with braided pigtails and a frequent smile. 
You go, Mo. She flexed her biceps for me later on the bus back; thank God for Title IX. 

More about Howard


  1. Is there a link to this amazing video?

  2. Sorry, Rob. I am phasing out this site and sometimes all the links don't get reposted. (Mostly at quantumdiuce.blogspot.com now).

    BTW, this video shows the location of my adventure, but it isn't a video of our trip. The river, waves etc. look the same, though.