Thursday, February 28, 2008

February 26, 2008 - Queenstown

After our white water rafting trip last week on the Buller River, we wanted to try something that would give us more time actually in white water, rather than riding on top of it. White water sledging seemed to fit the bill. My amphibious husband had a terrific time.
I, on the other hand, found it terrifying.
A sledge is a plastic board, shaped to fit your torso, with handles at the top. Your chest rests on the sledge. Your arms tuck inside. This is important as it protects them from being bashed by rocks.
Supposedly these sledge things are very maneuverable. Supposedly we would be able to catch air off of the top of waves, steer in and out of whirlpools and eddies, and surf standing waves. Sten did do all of these things. I, on the other hand, spent the whole time trying to stay out the whirlpools, to which I seemed to be attracted to like a magnet, and clutching onto my sledge for dear life (two days later my shoulders still ache).
We did two 5km runs on the Kawarau River through Class III+ rapids including Roaring Meg, Man Eater, and Roller Coaster. During the first run, I was pretty sure I wasn't going to go on the second run - I was planning to sit it out with the woman who had briefly lost her sledge and bashed her chin on a rock. I changed my mind in the van on the way to the drop in point. And I'm glad I did. Knowing what was coming helped me anticipate it a bit. But still, I didn't have much control over my sledge and had to get dragged out of yet another whirlpool by one of the guides.
"That was the last rapid? Sweet. Now I can relax and enjoy the scenery."

"What do you mean that was the last one?"

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