Tom Lybeck Original Down the River

Down the River

I learned a long time ago how the river as a force of nature can easily be taken for granted.

There has to be respect for what the river can do, especially in areas with white water. There have been a lot of people who have lost their life because they weren’t careful this year. Some didn’t even wear a life jacket.

Back in the eighties I took on the adventure of river rafting with a group near Bond, Colorado. With trained professionals manning the rafts, it appeared to be a day of allowing myself to get wet and just enjoy the ride. We floated along with eight large rafts, eight people to each one, with one pro at the oars. One of the eight rafts capsized sending seven people into the river, completely submerged under the roaring water. I was in that seven.

It happened because one raft got hung up on a rock and all the rest piled into it. I found myself under water holding my breath for well over a minute, trying desperately to find an opening in the floor of rafts over me. Finally, I was able to break through for air. My life jacket allowed me to get to the bank on the other side. I was okay, but still remember to this day the bone-deep chill. It was in the mid-90s but I was cold for the rest of the day.

The thing about the river is that no matter how prepared a person tries to be, expect to take a swim. It’s that rough a ride.