Monday, August 02, 2010

Story #299: Tubing at Provo Canyon, near-death experience

I've always wanted to go tubing so I tried it last Saturday. It was my first time and I had no idea what was going on and what tubing was really about. I went in my jeans short (no.1 sign that I have no idea what was going on) and instead of putting on my contacts, I decided I would wear my glasses (sign no.2 that I am an amateur). Everyone who has ever done it told me it's awesome and so much fun. It's true. It was fun for the most part. But it wasn't fun when the current swept me and my tube towards the bank into some branches poking out, tipped my tube and flipped me into the freezing water (below 40degree) and washed my glasses away.

It happened too quickly. It was only about 10 minutes into the 2 hour journey when we hit a rapid and I got separated from Mr.L and swept into the branch. The current was pretty strong and the river was flowing fast. I did a somersault in the water. Actually, the current pushed me around. It didn't feel good losing control and not being able to stand your ground. As my tube floated away from me (and so was Mr.L), all I could do was try to reach out my hands so he could grab me or I could grab my tube. The air was knocked out of me and I could not move my arms and legs in the cold water. It was the closest I have ever felt to death. If that's death, I don't think I like it! I definitely don't want to die drowning. It's a painful and ugly death. But I couldn't help feeling that way as I was pushed under water several times.

Mr.L was being carried away too fast. I felt like I was chasing him in the water but I couldn't reach him no matter how fast and how hard I kicked the water. As I was watching him and my tube drifted away, I had a panic attack, I thought there was no way anyone could save me because of the rapid and the current. I opened my mouth to breath in more air but instead of taking in air, I let out screams, desperate screams. In less than 2 minutes I felt so close to hell. The freezing water was hell! It felt like forever before Mr.L jumped in the water to push me towards the bank and we climbed out of the water. I was shivering like crazy and the shock didn't leave me till after I have rested and calmed down.

We still had about an hour and a half of a journey until we get to the area where we were supposed to get off the tube. So I had to get back on the tube and in the river. This time I grabbed Mr.L's feet like holding on to a lifesaver. We should have done that earlier but we learn as we went. We managed to figure out how to avoid being pushed towards the bank and how to stay on the safe side of the rapids. Despite the numbing cold on my butt (actually I peed a couple of times in the tube. Yep I was sitting in my pee the whole time. Don't judge. You don't know how cold that was and I had to go like really bad. I know, sad for the people who have to use my tube after. But what do you expect, right? River water isn't ever clean anyways), I was able to enjoy the trip down the river.

The fear disappeared rather quickly and I enjoyed looking at the beautiful sceneries (Provo Canyon is really really beautiful). I love the pine trees on the mountain side and the sky was covered with clouds (which made it a rather cool day). There were many people who fished in the river. The river wasn't that deep, for the most part it was only about knee-height.

I think I will go back there and go tubing again. What don't kill you only make you stronger, right? I am rather optimistic about the next time we go because we definitely learnt from our mistakes this time and know what to do next time.

Here are some pictures I took after we got out of the river. I didn't have my iphone with me, which was a good thing, or it might be dead by now.

On our way to Vivian Park in Provo Canyon
A hot dog stand that we ate at. I love all the bottle caps at the counter.

1 comment:

Lia said...

We used to tube down the Provo River all the time when we were kids!

You would think that Leighton would have warned you against jean shorts though . . . what a bad husband . . haha, jk!