July 18 marked 32 years of marriage for Russell and I. It will be an anniversary we will NEVER forget.
On Friday, 7/19, we floated the Royal Gorge at an advanced level 4-5 category the whole way due to late season melt off. Water was running great and it was the best season in many years. The flow was 2732 cubic feet/sec. (Let that sink in) For reference they close all river access at 3200 cfs. Which makes for very high, intense rafting conditions. We were excited! We had done the Big Sheep Horn last year (3/4 category). You could not have asked for better rafting conditions!!! Even the guides were stoked!
We knew we would have to be focused when our guide kept doing practice strokes and saying ”this is serious. I’m going to need you to put everything you’ve got in to this”!
We made it thru the first 3 rapids. High 3-low 4 category. On the first true level 4 we got hit hard! I fell in. I fell in on a 4 (the rapid named Grateful Dead) and continued in the water thru the next 4 and 5. Guys that’s not where you want to be! The Lord and I had a good face to face conversation. I was caught in a vicious cycle of summersault/spinning. Could NOT get out of it. (Later Russell told me I was caught in an eddy. I couldn’t swim to a boat. Couldn’t swim to shore. Couldn’t breath. Couldn’t see which way I needed to attempt to go. I was in there a long time. Seemed like 20 minutes or so but I’m sure it was not really that long.
All I could see was light to know which was up and furious bubbles everywhere. I finally heard a guide yell at me stop swimming and turn on to my back (which was opposite of our instructions at launch time). At that point I “floated” towards a rocky shore that I could not grab on to, but allowed their boat to trap me between them and the shore. I heard him yell GET HER IN THE BOAT several times as they were dragging me along the rocks trying to pull me from the rapids. They pulled me in just in time to navigate the next 5 coming up on us. I was spent. I had nothing left to give and just prayed I didn’t fall out again as my body was only half way in the raft as they had to let go of me and paddle to navigate the rapid. They were great! The whole tour (6 rafts) eventually stopped in a less turbulent area of water and waited for me to regain strength and confidence. The guides were awesome! The lead guide said are you ready to get down this river now? In your raft, cuz you’re a champion! You mastered this river! Of course I was! My guide kept saying you were amazing out there! I didn’t feel that way ...
I never felt panicked. (Which apparently was Russell’s prayer. “Please Lord, don’t let her panic! over and over again) I never cried. I was scared, yes, but not panicked! I could recall all the instructions we were given in case we fell in. I did think a few random thoughts while out there though. (If you talk to me I’ll give you my full conversation lol)
It was probably worse on Russell, as he could see me disappear/reappear over and over until finally he couldn’t see me any more.
I will raft again. We had planned on Rodeo Rafting in OKC Sunday, but we decided we would be to sore to do that so we headed to Pikes Peak instead.
I am posting this because the minute I was able to talk after being rescued I just wanted to thank God for being with me. I could feel His presence the entire time. God was definitely watching over me! I could not imagine going through that situation without knowing Jesus as my personal Savior. So if you don’t know Him, I’d like to invite you to accept Him into your life right now! It does not matter where you are (even the break room bathroom) He will accept you! There is no right or wrong way to accept Him. Just ask! You never know what the next moment holds! Message me if you want help doing this!
2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and love, and of a sound mind. -King James Version
That’s the ONLY way I can explain my mentality while struggling to just live.
We’re home now. I’m sore, a few minor scrapes, but alive.