Thursday, July 21, 2011


We've had a lot of rain and snow in California this year.  Consequently as the snow melts in the mountains, rivers have had a greater volume than in years past and are running much more powerfully.  Three young people with a church group were killed this week when they climbed over a barrier near a waterfall in Yosemite.  The reports said they were playing and taking pictures in the pool above the falls.  One slipped on the river rocks and was pulled over the falls the other two tried to rescue the first person and they went over too.  Very sad.

I also read about a waterfall in Hawaii where several people gave been killed this year when they were wading in the pool below the falls.  Rumor has it that the pool has a whirlpool current running underneath the surface but officials have said the current is calm.  These recent news reports reminded me of my near accident last year on our river rafting trip.

I've tried to reevaluate what happened and I talked to my husband about it.  He's convinced it was the waterfall that was pushing me back down under the water.  That might be true but I still think it was a whirlpool.  I'm not experienced enough with river currents to make a determination but I definitely know that, that was a risk I should not have taken.  My husband think I should have just swam harder and made a decision earlier in the crisis that I knew what was happening to me and reasoned a way out of the situation.

Which brings up an interesting point.  I think it's much more important to evaluate the risk before the event.  I didn't have enough experience with river rafting for that trip.  God forbid I'd been one the people whose boat flipped over and you're been swept down a Class V river.  And praise God that all the folks that did happen to were able to keep their wits about them and had rescuers down river.  But, that trip was just too much for me.  No one is strong enough to survive floating down a powerful river.  My husband thinks it's important to challenge yourself past the point of what you feel is dangerous but I'm finally figuring out at my age that knowing what you can do and what you can't do is better than taking a chance.

I don't want the bad memories of that trip to overcome the good.  Some of it was good.  But, respect for rivers and other bodies of water is so important.  It might sound silly but those little radio spots about boat safety doesn't go far enough.  A human is no match for a river.  There are too many ways to get hurt and too many ways, sadly, to die.

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