After almost 20 years, I recently experienced rafting again at Bakersfield.
I traveled there with a group of 20 people, and we enjoyed one of the unforgettable times of our lives.
Thrilling to say the least!
We chose an excellent time because the water level was exceptionally higher than normal — way above the last year’s level when California still was in the throes of a years’ long drought.
This was a Level 3 whitewater rafting, 2 hours and 3.5 miles long.
We entered some rough areas. Someone possibly could have fallen out.
I prefer calling them fun rapids.
There were some swimming spots where almost everyone jumped into the river and swam along the current.
It was easier going rafting for those who really wanted to enjoy and go through the complete experience without the fear of drowning.
Six of us were in each kayak, including the instructor.
The kayaks were inflatable, and we were equipped with all the safety gears we needed, such as a helmet and a life jacket.
The life jacket was mandatory. The helmet, however, was optional.
I took my helmet, and then I regretted it. However, you must have wet shoes. Sandals are not recommended at all. You likely will end up losing them.
Some worthwhile lessons we learned:
- Teamwork: Listen to your instructors first. Remember the kayak moves better when all 6 people paddle together.
- The Art of Balance: Try to balance the raft. Too much load and paddling on one side creates weakness on the other side and makes the kayak always push to the wrong way.
- Don’t Give In: Right before the rapids when you think you might fall in the river, lock your feet under the seats, push your body weight inward and paddle. Enjoy the rapids because they don’t last long. You will miss it when they pass.
- Face Your Fears: There’s no guarantee that you stay in your kayak safe and dry, but at least you have tried the rafting. Try to rehearse it in your head ahead of time — what if you fall? What should you do? Then do exactly that. Don’t panic. There are always obstacles part of any road ahead. Prepare for them.
- Go With the Flow: Don’t try to be in control all the time. Where the river is calmer, don’t paddle. Just look at t nature and listen to the river’s sound. Let the current take you ahead. Just have fun.
At the end, you will leave with a huge smile on your face as we did.
We certainly wished that we had booked a longer rafting trip.
Without a doubt we all wanted to plan to go back again very soon.
Ms. Broukhim may be contacted at: