It's 7 a.m. I wake up with a sore right leg ... and my right hip is rather hurting. My right foot hurts when I straighten it. Come to think of it, both my legs have a piercing ache from the knees down. What did I do last night? I'm not hung over, I must not have had much to drink. 'Oh yeah,' it occurs to me, 'I swam the Crib yesterday after flipping on Pillow.'
The crew was overzealous in a few ways. We had a couple of super paddlers who knew (or thought they knew) where the boat needed to go. They also happened to be a fundamentalist Christian group who, among other things, discussed how they had prayed to God all day for safety, and decided to have our paddle cheer be 'Hallelujah, Jesus!' I could feel the river shifting when the praying was going on and the paddle cheer was yelled after Exterminator.
Somehow we made it through the meat of that rapid without losing anyone, though the boat stalled for a second and popped out safely. Sure enough, on our way past the Heaters, 'Hallelujah, Jesus!' was echoed down Ripogenus Gorge.
The next few rapids gave us little trouble, but I could still feel a certain uneasiness in the river. I think about the gods I've been praying to for the last several weeks ... Coming out of the Bailing Eddy, we were set up well: passing under the bridge, we threaded the needle. There was Pillow, and the next thing I knew, I was on the cribbing with an upside down 16-foot self-bailing Maravia looking at a boat (not mine) pinned on Guardian. Some of my crew ran Bone Cruncher, others were stuck on the island -- no one was hurt that badly, but my legs (almost 2 weeks later) are still quite sore. A flow of 2200 CFS does not make the swim any friendlier. I sat at the post-trip meeting wondering what happens next, I remembered, as the water gets higher, boats should hit the diagonal higher.
The river Gods, whether you give them credit or not, have power to make boats and swimmers do as the gods wish - and not the gods who answer to 'Hallelujah, Jesus!' The next two trips through the Crib made me say 'I'm humble,' throughout the day, to whomever I needed to be humble to.
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