Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Just Do It.

I’ve never thought of myself as an adventure sports junkie. In fact, most people laughed when I told them I was going to live on the side of a mountain and work at a ski resort when I don’t ski or snowboard. I’m simply here for the experience of seeing another country and having some quiet time to write without the millions of distractions that New York provides on a nightly basis.

That being said, I promised myself that I would be open to new experiences and take advantage of any that presented themselves. When I heard that a group was organizing a white water rafting trip I jumped right in.

Eight of us drove down to Tongariro River Rafting (www.trr.co.nz) where we met our guides Nick and Ben and changed into wetsuits, life jackets, and helmets. They corralled us onto a bus and took us to the river where we got a few brief instructions before hauling our boats into the water.

The severity of a river is rated on a scale of one to five, and my favorite explanation was that one was equivalent to a warm bath, while five was similar to dropping a live hornets nest into your pants. Our river was a level three, and of course we chose a rainy day so we spent our time between rapids (which was probably seventy-five percent) sitting on our hands for warmth. 
Luckily, our guides were full of jokes and silly banter to keep us entertained.

After a two hour ride full of gorgeous scenery, a few thrilling moments of water splashing into our faces and a few more spent bouncing up and down in the boat trying to dislodge ourselves from the top of a rock, we piled back into the busses for a soak in the nearby hot pools. Numb skin tingled against the warmth of the water the moment our toes broke the surface, but within minutes we settled in and never wanted to leave.

Before we knew it we were being called out of the water (just moments before the skies broke and began to rain again) to change back into comfortable clothes. We headed back to home base where tomato soup (homemade from Nick’s garden) was waiting for us with bread and butter. We ate, drank and laughed at the slideshow of photos already streaming on the wall and left as soaking but completely satisfied customers.

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