As I stepped onto the raft, I felt the rush of water under me. I began to strap on my lifejacket, all the while stressing about how many bones I may or may not break. After firmly tightening my lifejacket accordingly, our rafting leader guided us in how to use the oars to push ourselves off of the bank of the Ocoee River. In just a few short seconds, I found myself rafting through the gushing, white waters of the river. Finally, we were to raft through the first river of the day, which consisted of Class Three rapids. This rapid, which was mainly calmer waters and low currents, was somewhat of a practice run. The rafting group quickly perfected the techniques of using oars rhythmically, navigating the current, turning the raft, and learning what to do in case of the raft flipping over. After a series of a few more Class Three water, we were quickly on our way to our first Class Four rapid. From a distance, I became more and more anxious as I studied the rush of water above the thick layer of rocks on the bottom of the river. Although our guide ensured us that we would be able to successfully navigate our way through the water, I remained unsure as the water only became more intimidating as we neared. Soon enough, the raft was speeding through the rapid with ease. I became confident in my ability to not end up flying into the water. However, after a few more Class Three and Class Four rapids, we approached our first Class Five rapid. At this point in the day, the feeling of exhilaration and endorphins made me optimistic that my rafting group would be able to easily get through the water without any issues. However, in the dead center of the strongest part of the current, my friend was suddenly flung out of the raft and into the jagged rocks under the rushing, white water. Because everyone’s eyes were filled with the fresh water of the river, nobody immediately noticed that my friend suddenly disappeared. After entering the calmer waters that come after the rapid, we finally realized that the raft felt less full than before. A few feet away, we saw my friend’s red hair bobbing up and down in the water, attempting to not get stuck on a rock. After fighting the extremely strong current, we were able to pull my friend back onto the raft and continue our journey through the Ocoee River.
After enduring more Class V currents, eating lunch, and using free time to swim through the calm, cool water, we continued rafting. As we neared the end of our white water rafting trip, we breezed through the calmer waters as we were able to take in the beautiful nature of Georgia. Despite being the end of May, the weather in the middle of the lake was crisp and cool. Because of the easy current, we were able to take up our oars and gaze at the mountains in the distance. We were able to take in the allure of the nature and scenery surround us. Sadly, our trip was coming to a close after we passed the dam and rafted back to the loading dock. As we loaded onto the bus, I quickly began to reminisce on thoughts of the thrilling, yet peaceful nature of the rafting trip. During the entirety of the bus ride, I stared out of the window as I already began to miss the gorgeous landscape of the Georgia mountains and rivers.