Groovin' Down the River

September 22, 2008
Many families go on vacation during summer break. Like most, my family goes on at least one vacation during the summer. Our summer vacations are always interesting and unique to say the least; my mother makes sure of it. This past summer, my mother was excited to report that she had booked our excursion for the summer. To be honest, I was expecting a cruise or some exotic beach somewhere; then she told us that in July we were off to Utah for river-rafting on the Green River. Here, not only would we be camping outside for five days and doing our ‘business’ in a bucket called the ‘Groover,’ we would also not be able to take a clean shower the whole time! This was a difficult concept to grasp considering I am a person who always is applying hand sanitizer every chance I get. Upon hearing this I had no idea that this trip would not only be fun, but also a great bonding experience for my family.

That July, my parents, siblings, cousin, and I all got on a bus that headed from Moab, Utah to the Green River. We were all prepared; we had our bug repellent, swimsuits, water shoes, and anything else that was on the complimentary check-list provided by the rafting company. Despite it all, I was still anxious for what awaited us on the not-so-calm river. On the bus, we met the other three families from different parts of the United States that would be joining us on this adventure, along with our tour guides. Here we were told what to expect, and what was expected from us. Before we knew it, we were unloading our ‘ditty’ bags from the bus and saying our goodbyes to the port-a-potties that would be looking pretty glamorous in five days’ time. All of us stumbled onto the rafts, looking in amazement at the 4000 foot canyons that surrounded both sides of the river and stretched down the horizon as far as the eye could see. Everyone placed their sunglasses onto the bridge of their noses in unison as we admired the blue sky with little sporadic white cotton ball clouds here and there. Then we were on our way down the Green River, enjoying the sun and all the beautiful nature around us.

Each day that we were there, we spent at least nine hours on the river. We had to apply sunscreen every 20 minutes, and drink four-liters of water throughout the day. Our raft-guide, Lor, claimed that people are only cranky because they are dehydrated, and now that I think about it, I believe it is true since no one got into an argument during the whole trip. Lor was a very interesting person; his love for nature was contagious and was also very entertaining. He told us riddles everyday to keep us busy in between rapids. This was so much fun because my family was in awe of his clever little riddles, and we would celebrate after each riddle was solved, to where it became a competition to see which family member could solve the most. We told a lot of stories to pass the time; some of these stories were exaggerated and some had no point at all. We learned a lot about each other that we never knew before. Even more happened off of currents of the water once the sun went down.

At dusk, we would be all settled down from a big day on the river, enjoying some food by the fire. My mother had previously decided that every family member had to provide entertainment for one night, whatever it may be. We played Catch Phrase, ‘Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader,’ Charades, Horseshoes, and my brother showed off his unknown talent for playing the harmonica (astonishingly well, might I add). This was all so enjoyable and different compared to a normal day with my family. Usually, my parents are stressed out, and if they are not, then my sister and I are not getting along. We are always too busy to see each other and have a decent conversation. This trip reminded us of how much we love and respect each other on a whole new level. Our bonding was tremendous. Everyone made the effort to get along without being told to.

The adventure down the Green River was a very exhilarating experience. We went down extreme rapids, got too many mosquito bites to count, and knew way more about everyone on the trip than we bargained for. Much to my surprise, I loved every minute of it. Sure, I had to tinkle in a bucket for five days, and I smelled like a dirty dog when it was all said and done, but that was a small price to pay in order to spend quality time with the people I love most in this world. I hope that next summer’s vacation is just the same, because I doubt that any time away from home could get any better than that.

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