I felt like such an idiot yesterday for having worried so much about white-water rafting. As I posted yesterday, I had a blast.
I’d never been tubing, either, but it sounded like it would be a lot more relaxing, and nowhere near as challenging.
One continues the journey of self-discovery throughout one’s life, and today I discovered that I am not cut out for tubing. Everything I worried about from white-water rafting came true in tubing. I was an ungainly idiot just getting into the tube, and scratched up my left leg at that point. I kept getting turned around backwards and couldn’t figure out a good way to turn myself around, so I kept getting into the wrong areas — stuck on rocks or flipping over in the rapids. I flipped over at least three times, scratching my right leg even worse than I’d scratched the left one.
Later, several others would try to tell me that they, too, had had trouble, either today or else the first time they’d gone tubing. But I was having worse trouble, as evidenced by the fact that I was lagging way behind the rest of the group. Alden, our leader, and Tori, one of the youth, hung back so that they could keep me in view, which made me feel guilty.
Finally, after about the third time I flipped, I was gasping for breath and just feeling completely frustrated, completely clumsy and fatter than Fatty Arbuckle.
I stood there, in the current, trying to catch my breath. I was at a place where there was a way back up to the path.
I heard Alden’s voice: “I think you’re going to have to walk it.” I did not realize at the time that Alden was talking to Tori, telling her that a particular area was so shallow that Tori would have to pick up her tube and cross it that way. I thought Alden was talking to me, confirming that I was just so incredibly bad at tubing that now was the time to give up.
I stood there for a few minutes. Alden got out of her tube, went ashore, and walked back to where I was. She clarified that she was not telling me to stop, and in fact she encouraged me to continue, saying that we’d passed the worst of the rapids and it was much easier from that point downstream. But by that time my mind was made up. I did not want to get back in that tube, I did not want to feel like I was holding everyone else back; I just wanted to go.
I got out of the water and made the walk, which seemed like a mile or more, back to the tube rental place. (On the way up, we had actually driven part of the way, but those vans were now already back at the rental place, where we would eat lunch.) It was a long walk, carrying a light but ungainly tube, and I think I’d pulled some muscle in my hip at some point while I was in the water. It actually hurts worse now than it did then; I especially felt it when getting into and out of the van for the ride back to Junaluska. I was berating myself pretty much the whole walk back.
When I got back to the tube rental place, the first few tubers from Isle of Hope were starting to arrive. Kim Floyd, a delightful woman from Isle of Hope who has been doing our food service this weekend, put disinfectant and Neosporin on my shins and taped a big piece of gauze on my right one. I was really grateful for her help and kindness.
I eventually got over feeling sorry for myself. The kids had a great time, and many of them eagerly went back up the hill to do it all over again after lunch. And that’s who this trip is about, after all — the kids.
We had pre-ordered hamburgers for lunch from the snack bar there at the tube rental place, and they were quite good. Later, if we wanted, we could buy ice cream from that same snack bar. I had some Mayfield blueberry cheesecake, and it was terrific. There’s nothing like a couple of scoops of ice cream to put you in a better mood.