I was remembering days long ago. I must have been about 26 at the time. I'd taken a weekend with my sister and another female friend, when my children were small. I'd not been away from them much, and I was a bit nervous about it, but their father took good care, and I knew they'd all be fine. I'd been too stressed, a short vacation sounded good, and they all said I needed a weekend.
It was so hot, but they said that the spring water there was fifty-eight degrees, and I liked that idea. Now, I'm not the "outdoorsy" type. It has bugs in it, it's often sweaty and causes a lot of squinting. Nonetheless, I believed for the sake of my cohorts, this would be "good for me."
Two days with large parts spent traveling, and I managed a total of 8 hours on the water. I tubed myself, butt sagging in the middle and arms and legs draped over inner-tube as it was custom to do, and proceeded to float down Current River with my accomplices scattered on the water.
Oh, it was beautiful. I got a little warm, but a little dip of the cool clear liquid current took care of that. The water sparkled, and our take off point led us into a lazy float, serenaded by birds, the occasional fish splash, and the green was so lush river side that I'd not have been surprised had Tarzan swung out of the foliage at any moment. It didn't last though.
Enter, the rapids. The water took a turn for the irritable, and all of us got pushed, shoved, splashed and thrown against rocks, spilling over small falls. I attempted, when we hit the shallows to stand and got knocked back down barely managing to do a controlled fall just enough to wallop myself with my own inner-tube. I'm a Mom, and as such I would NOT be defeated! I held on as if I were wrestling The Creature From The Black Lagoon.
Thirty minutes and the water would calm eerily allowing a return of the pulse with green overhangs and crystal views to river bottom. White water ahead would signal feet at the ready, and I in short order became adept at aiming them at various logs to propel myself into another current thereby avoiding a good barking. Oh, to be fending off whatever water snakes they were by quick twists to aim the inner tube at white mouthed angry mommas protecting their litter, or whatever it is that snakes have. I'd time it, watch her skimming the water, toward my feet in a frantic S-curve, wait for it as she coiled, and turn sharp to hear the thud of her teeth against the rubber tube, before she'd suddenly retreat. I felt sorry for her and the several others I encountered that day. She thought I was after her babies, and in some way, I think we bonded.
I only wish we could have done a synchronized version of this and put it in the Olympics. It was quite a dance, and never had I spent 4 hours on a floor, so I decided to go again in case I had missed something.
My day on the water ended, and I was tired and full of adrenalin. Interesting how that little hormone heightens the senses. I arrived at our motel oddly stiff, and felt my skin warming. I had to get out of my swimwear and never has a nylon gown felt so much like toothed thistle against the skin. I sat on the Cheeze Whiz coated bed spread which was of a faded red that oddly matched the orange goo. After my ankles warmed, I discovered that I could not bend them to a standing position as they had been burnt to a cherry while in draped position over the side of the inner tube. My skin drank aloe vera, and no sooner would I finish reapplying one end than the other would start steaming again.
I carefully pulled the Spreadable Cheeze bed covering off of the bed, laid down and proceeded to pull the saltine sheets up over me holding them in the air while I took a minute to brace myself. I prayed! Ever so gingerly I let the lying, air drifting, cloud-like white sheet slam to my skin with a feeling that can only be compared to the sound of an eighteen wheeler sliding sideways on dry August asphalt.
I tried sleeping by holding that sheet straight in the air with my hands, but no. Eventually, I gave up, tossed it back, apologized to my room mates, and slept in moments, until I'd flinch or breathe... sheet-less.
It was a long night, and never was I so glad to get back home.
For this reason, I don't recommend get-a-way weekends to stressed people. Stay home, relax and don't get burned. If you are very calm, wear skin covering scuba gear, a hat, sunglasses, possibly carry a spear and an umbrella, I'd like to suggest they try white water floating. It might be fun.