Whitewater Fever: Part II
They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing and I guess this trip proved it. My wife, Andrea, and I had been paddling for about five years. The first three years we were very careful and only paddled on small ponds and lakes. Then we took a guided trip down the Delaware River and everything changed. Once I got hold of nautical charts for the Delaware, I was convinced that I was all set. I had no idea that the water level changed radically depending on snow-melt and rain.
We took our friends Justin and Danny with us. I was paddling a whitewater kayak—thinking I was all that and a bag of chips—while Justin and Danny borrowed our old recreational kayaks. Andrea paddled her beloved Eddyline Merlin. It never occurred to us that I was the only one paddling a kayak that was made for whitewater. No matter, we had paddled the Delaware at least a half-dozen times in those old recreational kayaks and we always wore our life vests.
It had been raining heavily the previous weeks, and the Delaware was running high. We were smashing through waves and having a great time. We spotted a feeder creek that was normally just a dry rock bed. Now it was a raging whitewater siren calling our names. I asked Justin and Danny if they wanted to hike up and run the rapids and of course, they agreed. Andrea was far too smart to join us, so she waited by the entrance to the stream for us to come out. I had estimated that the whole side trip would take us 15 minutes. 45 minutes later when Andrea saw no sign of us, but saw debris floating down the stream, she began to worry.
To be continued…