I'm in Sam's boat this morning. Everyone left by 8:15 or so, for the two and a half to three hours of rowing this morning for Lava Falls. Lava Falls is near a dormant volcano, which is the source of the origin of the rapids' name.
I had broken my camera AGAIN having stored it "safe" down my life vest and gotten it not only waterlogged with condensation in the lens, but also bound with sand in the gears. My 200 pictures of the approach and trips through Lava Falls are all crap. Well, those that I could take, given that I had problems with opening it in the first place.
We stopped to scout the rapid before going through. As we were approaching the scout point, Kris jumped out of the boat to secure the bowline. He slipped on the muddy edge, and fell into the water up to the middle of his chest. Sam jumped out to secure the line as Kris floundered on the bank, unable to get out of the water via the shore or the boat. Eventually he let me grab his life jacket and fall over backwards, pulling Kris into the boat. Fun!
So, we stopped to scout the rapids. Honestly, with all the build up in the morning, with Charly's having read a worrisome account of the run from some relation, and Tracy talking about the rapids last night, and Sam's talk of this morning, I was fairly terrified. My heart was thumping hard, and not happy.
So, eventually we all shuttled back into the boats. I was sitting in the front right of Sam's boat, with Kris in the front left. Andy was in the paddle boat. Sam set up his video camera so that it was sitting on his right, and I was front and center in the video. As we were pulling away from the beach, Kris looked at me and said, "If you feel your butt drop, come to my side." He summarized into ten words the whole theory of high-side and low-side of the boat when rafting and how you want to go to the high side of the boat to keep the boat from tipping over by putting as much weight on the side of the boat that'll go over, in hopes of preventing it from going over.
Sam said other things like "swim to a boat or swim to shore," but Kris' words are the ones that I remembered.
So, into the rapids we went.
The first rapid went fine.
When we "turned near vertical" on the second wave, and my butt dropped low, I jumped to Kris' side, then sat back down when the boat leveled. We had one more wave hit us and came through fine, but way wet.
We went through the second Lava Falls rapids, called the Son of Lava, and pulled to the left shore to wait out the heat of the afternoon. Sam came over to us with his video camera to show us what he had, as well chat about the rapids. Kris commented that, eh, the rapids weren't so bad, he didn't get so wet. I was like, "WHAT? What are you talking about? That second wave smashed me and dropped the boat. I had to jump to your side, the boat went like 50 or 60°." Kris was puzzled, what was I talking about?
Sam was with me. He showed us the video. The first wave, no problem. The second wave grew giant claws and crushed me, as the boat tipped not just 50° or 60° but actually closer to 75° Sam commented that he, too, was knocked to the boat floor on the wave that crushed me, as it got him, too. Josh was laughing behind us, about the wave and our run.
That's two big rapids and two near misses.
As Kris says, "Lava Falls? Rocked it."
I'm glad to be done with all of the big rapids.