Letter: Listen to your gut on the river
River rafting is an extreme sport. As a miracle survivor of a rafting accident three years ago, I want to write this letter to give a word of caution and advice during the season of high-water rafting.
Our guide that day seemed capable of his task at hand until our group descended upon the loading area at Shoshone. That’s when gut instinct should have taken over. The cattle drive at the loading location is over-the-top intense. It’s all about “Let’s go, lets go, lets go!” Our guide chose to put us in the river, and we followed his word like geese.
The river was brown, big rapids, Class IV, full of railroad ties and trees. There had been a microburst at Dotsero the night before, and the heavy rains pulled in huge amounts of debris from the banks. Not one guide there that morning decided to stay out of the river.
Within one minute, our raft flipped over front to back. Five of my family members were pitched out. For whatever reason, I held on to the raft handles and was on my back underneath the raft for 2 miles. No one helped me.
I knew I was dead soon. Through the highest rapids ever, over boulders, and not until I was close to Grizzly is when my niece heard my yells for help and pulled me out. The guide didn’t help me.
My being here is a miracle. And what I want to say is this: You, the rafter, listen to your gut instincts. And when you sign the waiver, remember it’s a done deal. We all lived and are physically OK.
I know who saved me.