Bunk Beds Not Only Things Wet at Camp

I spent this summer working at a local day camp chasing around teenagers who have hormones leaking out of their ears. A typical day would consist of me kicking six home-runs in a game of kickball. Then I would nearly knock a ten-year-old girl completely unconscious in football. After that we would eat some lunch while the campers would refill my water bottle if I told them a joke. The job itself was the joke. In the middle of the summer the camp sent me and three other counselors with a group of 30 kids up to northern Maine to spend a day on the Kennebec River white water rafting. This takes place where the towns are so insignificant they don’t even have names, only numbers. It took half of the day to drive up there and the other half to recover from the things the kids asked me on the bus ride . . . The next morning the guides gave our group a crash course on not drowning and not knocking our teeth out with the paddles. We all piled onto the bus and headed to the dam where 7,800 cubic feet of water poured out every second. To get an idea of how much water that is you should imagine standing under 6,000 toilets as they all flushed on you at once. That’s a lot of water. The top eighth of the river was class four and five rapids which are the top two classes in the whitewater classification. The rafting company named the big “hits” which are made by large rock outcroppings with the 7,800 cubic feet of water racing over them. Names like The Three Sisters and Big Momma were designed to instill an unholy fear in land-lubbing guests, but I did wasn’t buying it. I couldn’t wait to show Big Momma who her daddy really was. I sat in the front of the boat with seven other campers and a guide behind me paddling fiercely as we approached The Three Sisters. The view from the bottom of the first wave was like looking up a vertical wall of water the size of a Suburban standing on its tailgate: It was huge. The boat traveled up the wave with amazing speed and as we hit the apex my feet slid out from the holds and went straight over my head. Paddle still in hand, body half out of boat, and boat falling down the backside of the wave I reached for something to grab onto. I caught the safety line on the side of the boat and at that moment I quickly contemplated something: I could hold on and pull myself back into the boat or I could join the mighty Kennebec and ride the raging stallion bareback. I let go of the rope and let my feet carry my body over the edge of the boat. It didn’t take me long to realize the negative repercussions of the decision as a camper followed by the boat landed on my head. The guide screamed out instructions to me but what might as well have been the recipe for his mother’s corn muffins while we careened up and down the remainder of the Sisters and through what should have been called Colossal Momma. Gasping for air was useless for I was up and down in the water so quickly that by the time I realized I was above water, I was already under the boat again. Somehow I managed to keep the camper away from the 900 pound boat and he rescued. Eventually I was pulled in also with the percentage of water in my body now exceeding 96%. Luckily the rest of the day was a bit more leisurely than the first 10 minutes of the trip. We finished off the day with a delicious barbeque and a video which featured my skinny, lanky legs flailing over my head as I toppled into the water. Exhausted, I drove back to civilization with a new appreciation for moving water of any kind and not having to share a tent with 15 boys.