The Raft - Part 2
It was now almost dark and we were shivering from being colder than we had planned on too. With just enough light left, we could barely see the definite outline of white water rapids ahead of us. We paddled to the east bank and got out. When we got up on the higher ground above the river we could see the rapids stretching out into the darkness as far as we could see. Hey, they never……no, forget that. We both knew we were NOT going to paddle down thru THAT. It was roaring.
Fortunately, one thing we did right was we had a pretty long tow rope attached to the raft. We’d just let the raft float and hold it with the rope. We picked up our paddles and started to walk along the bank, holding the raft by the rope and continued down river—listening to the crash of the rapids. We were sure glad we were on the shore. We shore were. Haha. It was hard to see now and we stumbled over rocks and sage brush, but that was plenty OK as long as we weren’t in the rapids. On and on we went. Finally, we could see the lights of cars on the highway in the distance. What a welcome sight. When we got down to the bottom of the rapids, we got on the raft and paddled across the river to the south side where there was a place for cars to park next to the river. We figured we would tie the raft up there, then get up on the road and start hitchhiking. I forgot to mention that the river was smooth at this point, no danger and easy going like it had been when we first started our journey.
Well, I don’t think Dad and Mom are going to be too happy with us now I thought. Mom’s going to be really worried and Dad’s going to be hoppin’ mad. Boy that took a lot longer to float than I figured. Such were my thoughts as we glided along on the raft toward the far shore.
As we approached the bank, the lights of a car flashed on and a big hulk of a man, walked toward us and stood on the bank. DAD! “You boys ok?” He asked. It was good to hear his voice, it didn’t sound mad. “Yah, we’re fine,” we replied. Dad didn’t quite know what to say. I’m sure he was so grateful that we were alive and well instead of drowned in those rapids that he could hardly get any words out. We beached the raft and Dad helped us pull it up on shore where it couldn’t float away.
“Son, your Mom and I have been worried sick about you, why did you go without telling us?”
“Well, we thought we’d be back a lot sooner, and besides we figured you wouldn’t let us go, and we wanted to go.” Silence. “Dad, I’m sorry, we shouldn’t have done that I know- SORRY!”
Dad gave a long sigh. “Please don’t do that again.”
“We’re just so glad you’re here, alive, I guess we can’t be too mad...BUT I WAS!”
Oh I knew that, he didn’t have to tell me. But I knew he loved me, and that counted big at that moment. Mom was in tears, but so grateful. The roar of the rapids were an ominous sound to me, but to my parents, now that I’m a parent, now I know what it was for them, a death knell. I’m sorry I ever put them through that.
It was sweet to get home to the cabin, get some hot food left in the oven and crawl into a dry warm bed. All was well. And thank God for what my parents were doing, I know that, and adding some more grey hairs.
P.S. My friend was staying with his relatives in the cabin next to ours and I can’t even remember the details on that, but it was Dad, who I’m sure told them he would go down to the river and wait for us. Why they weren’t there I’m not sure. And of course, it was Tom that informed my parents where we went and where we planned on getting out. We drove the truck down the next morning and got the raft. Definitely was a COOL raft.