Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Not-So-Raging-River of Death

The Not-So-Ragging River of Death

I got a job as an employee for We Serve in Las Vegas, courtesy my cousin Adam, so I didn’t go home for Memorial Day weekend (even though we had that Monday off). I was going to work 2 concerts at Mandalay Bay Beach. Everyone else went home except for Quinci and Chris. The 3 of us are all actually from West Valley, and Quinci actually went to Kennedy Jr. High with me (she was a grade before me, though). At the Olive Garden for lunch on Saturday, Chris is all, “Hey, would you guys like to go cliff jumping or tubing down a river?” Now, I wasn’t feeling good this weekend; I had had a sinus drainage, so I didn’t say anything. But if Quinci wanted to go, I’d go. So Quinci said, “Sure, that sounds like fun.” That was the last we brought it up.

I worked the Barenaked Ladies concert that night and it was by far the best concert I had yet worked. The nicest thing was that, unlike Cyprus Hill, they didn’t keep talking about all the “mofos” and saying what a “mofo” wonderful night it was and how they had an awesome “mofo” song coming up. The band (Barenaked Ladies) was excellent live and it was windy, so it wasn’t super hot. Probably in the 80s. Anyway, I go to church the next day and come back and Quinci and I are Facebooking. She tells me that we are meeting Chris at Kmart at 6:00 a.m. This startled, but Chris confirmed, so being a somewhat good sport, I woke-up super early (even though I was still feeling sick).

When we get to Kmart, Chris showed us the map on what we were supposed to do: we had a “small” 3-mile hike “downhill” to the river, and then we would just float down for 15 miles. So, I didn’t think that it would be too difficult a hike, so I just brought my flip-flops. I helped Quinci carry the red basket-cooler-thingy on what felt like pretty flat ground (except for a few places that I knew we were going downhill, where there were rocks and I almost fell on Quinci since she was mercilessly yanking that red basket-cooler-thingy ;P). The ground was nothing but medium sized pebbles that kept killing my feet. Quinci finally just had me take her board and she took the cooler. I fell behind then because I was light-headed. I finally had to stop because I felt like I was going to faint. Quinci came back and brought me some water, but I fell behind again and had to stop once again because I thought I was going to faint again. And I’ve never fainted in my entire life, so I was nervous.

I finally made it down to the river, and Chris took the 2 white boards from me, strapped them to the extra tube, then we all got in the river and started “floating down the bayou” (courtesy Ray from The Princess and the Frog). About 30 minutes later, we were passed up by some kayakers and I could hear them talking with Chris, who informed them that people normally didn’t do what we were doing, so I felt more apprehensive.

Eventually, Quinci passed me and she stopped off to the side and we got out of the river and had lunch. We sat next to some ducks and duck poop. It was lovely. We started goofing off and singing Disney songs. I’m not sure if Chris enjoyed it as much as we were, but there was only 1 boy and 2 girls, so he was outnumbered (the extra tube didn’t count as a person). We got back on the river and Quinci and I caught the current and kept up with each other. After what felt like 6 hours, some more kayakers passed us and told us it was 3:00. We had gotten on the river at 9:30.

Eventually, we found where the kayakers were getting out, so Quinci and I pulled off to the side to wait for Chris to find out if that was where we were supposed to get out. Chris finally passed us and told us we still had 3 miles to go. Both me and Quinci were freezing and tired; my legs were dead from all the kicking down the river (we couldn’t float anymore because the wind blowing against us was stronger than the weak current). We passed Chris, and then after a while, he disappeared. We didn’t know what happened to him. We kept going down the river since there was no way we could/would go back up. By this time, I was really tired and pessimistic. I just knew that something had happened to Chris and that Quinci and I were going to face the same fate. I could see the story on the news: “Young Adults Go For Slow Ride Down Colorado To Death”. It was one of those stories where I’m at home and my mom and I are watching it and saying how stupid those poor souls were. I had been thinking about my family a lot, especially my mother, and how she hadn’t heard from me all day and how she knew I told her I was going and that it should only take a few hours. I hoped she had enough sense to panic and call Homeland Security or SWAT or something so that they would come and find our bodies. I felt like one of those idiots on the news and I sure as heck wasn’t going to die as one.

By this time, we were almost to where we parked at the end, but it was a huge bay in the river and Quinci and I were exhausted. We got out before the bend to the bay by a fish hatchery that said “No Foot Traffic Allowed”. I don’t know about Quinci, but I’d rather be shot then stay in the river. We were wondering what happened to Chris. He wasn’t coming down that we could see and my feet were sore and dead. My flip-flops where with Quinci’s stuff which was on the spare tube that Chris was carrying with him; Quinci was set to walk to the road and find out the way to the parking lot, but I couldn’t walk. Finally, about 20 minutes later, Chris came into view and told us that he had stopped for a while because he needed to get out of the water. We got our stuff from him and climbed up the hill.

There were about 10 houses along a small paved road right next to the fish hatchery, but they all seemed deserted. Quinci wanted to walk up to find the highway, but Chris said that the road wound down passed the hatchery to the parking lot. I decided to walk up to the houses and see if anyone could tell us which way to go to the parking lot. I knocked on about 3 doors, but I was feeling leery about it. This looked like the kind of town that had aliens living in it who would shoot us. Chris found a man in his truck driving away and he told us to just follow the road to get to the parking lot. We walked down the road for about 20 minutes, then came to Quinci’s ride.

The last obstacle on our Odyssey was crossing Hoover Dam and entering Nevada on Memorial Day. After about 50 minutes, we drove the 5 miles to cross the Dam, then we were home free.


  1. The cool thing about stories like this is the longer you look back at the story the better it gets. So years from now when you're on a hike with your kids in Arches Natl. Park and they're sort of dragging their feet and asking "how much further is this thing..." (sound familiar) you can turn to them and say. "hey this is nothing, let me tell you about the time I floated the Colorado river in a tube..."

    Good story Mandianni!!!

  2. LOL! Ammanda I read this earlier and I was cracking up! You are very funny and a very good story-teller! :-) It didn't allow me to comment though, and you had a different background/design. So maybe you were in between designs when I tried to post a comment. But anyway, I had to come back to tell you how much I enjoyed reading this post.

  3. I am glad your Dad approved, of course his approval comes AFTER you are safe on dry ground. As I was reading I was apprehensive, I didn't realize you were writing AFTER you had reached dry ground WHEW!!!!!!!
    I get involved in stories that is why I do not go to scary movies.
    Glad you had an adventure to tell your kids. :o)

  4. JuLee says,
    I loved your story, I'm sorry you did not feel good and you are a good sport. Love Mom

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  6. Aubree Says:
    Manda! I have always wanted to float down the Grand Canyon or Colorado River. And your story taught me..... not to use small tubes. I'm glad you survived!!!