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The Day I Fell Backward

The Day I Fell Backward

USA | Thursday, 15 May 2014 | Views [95] | Scholarship Entry

“Okay, does anybody have any questions?” my whitewater rafting instructor inquired as we shoved the raft into the water. “The river doesn’t start off rough until about twenty minutes in so please let me know if you’re confused about how to pedal properly.” He jumped onto the boat with his oar, positioned the boat horizontally with a small amount of space between the land and water, and signaled me and my team to go in. We skipped over the water onto the boat and tied our bags to a small rope near our seats.
I felt a small poke against my back as I was adjusting my lifejacket. I turned to see my camp counselor smiling at me. “Are you scared? This is your first time, right?” I shook my head and held up two fingers. “Second?” he laughed. “Well, we’ll have fun. This is only my second time too.” He tied up his bag and claimed the seat next to mine. He took a deep breath and exhaled. I looked around, with my heart beating faster as more and more people sat down in their seats. The wind whistled, its breath brushing against my skin and the sweet scent of pine dancing on the leaves.
“Alright, everybody ready?” my instructor yelled. “Go ahead and start pedaling, nice and even.” He leaned back, using the oar to help us guide the raft into the middle of the river. About twenty minutes later, I saw the water beating against boulders the size of cars. “This is it. Do everything I say and you’ll be fine.” I grinned and leaned forward onto the nose of the raft. The raft spun around as the water pulled and shoved. The instructor gave us orders to keep the raft steady. People behind me were cheering. I had goose bumps, either from fear or the cold I was unsure. The white water turned back to blue as the water calmed. “How was that?” My team raised their paddles and applauded, enthusiastic about what was next to come.
A jolt came from the bottom of the raft. I opened my eyes and found myself in the fast current of the river. I felt a tug at my foot and went under, hearing nothing but muffled words from my counselor and instructor. The sharp rocks scraped against my legs as I remembered that standing in the river is not an option if you want to keep your legs. I reached for the surface, unable to hold my breath any longer. I shouted for help as I lifted my legs up to the surface. Somebody grabbed my lifejacket and pulled me up onto a raft. “Your dad is going to kill me if he finds out you fell out.” My counselor cried. I simply laughed and we continued on our journey.

Tags: 2014 Travel Writing Scholarship - Euro Roadtrip

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