We were up bright and early.  Everyone has been looking forward to this river trip for a while!  Now the day is finally here!  We ate donuts for breakfast!  There is something so delightful about the soft fluffiness of a donut in contrast of the crunchy, dry and dense bars that we usually eat each morning.  

We packed up all of the gear… and found a really kind gentleman named Mr. Miller to help transport us up a ways to the river put in.

Jamie gave us a lesson in river safety.  He told us what we were to do if we happened to fall out of the boat (that lesson proved invaluable), and what we were to do with our paddles when he (or Ryan) gave certain commands.  Ryan was going to guide the second raft, following the lead of Jamie. We geared up, and before we knew it we were on the river. 

We had a blast going through the rapids.  Kole went for a swim on Quarter Mile.  Ryan’s boat hit a rock just right, and Kole flew out of the raft.  The boat actually went over him.  He managed to keep hold of his paddle, and negotiate class 4 rapids without getting even a scratch.  

Below Jamie is teaching Ryan how to scout out a route for the boat.  He was teaching all of them how to interpret the interaction between the water and rocks below.

After going down the river a couple of miles, we stopped for lunch and a swim.

I took a nap, soaking in the glorious sunshine and warm air. (Ryan took a picture)… Look at those tan lines!

Back in our boats, we headed back down the river.  The scenery was just so beautiful.  It was hard to not take more pictures and focus on my job of paddling.

Here is a great picture of Ryan and Jamie. 

Now, there was this one specific rapid… no one is quite sure exactly how it happened, but Jamie and I looked behind us to see how Ryan was coming along.  When we turned and looked back, all we saw was an empty boat, and five rafters in the water.  Paddles were floating, rapids were coming.  All in an instant, Jamie noticed that we were headed toward a rock and gave a command to paddle back as hard as we could, then forward, then back.  As soon as we were clear from the rocks, we were able to turn our attention again to the Ryan and the boys in the water.  We were able to pull Kole up into the boat, maybe it was Riley, either way… we pulled out of the current and helped everyone get out of the river.  It was scary, adrenaline was pumping, but in the end we were all safe, and managed not to lose even one paddle.  What a ride!!!

After we got back to the campground, we transported all of the gear from the shoreline back to the campsite, and then we decided to head out for dinner.  The four oldest boys rode in the back of the pick up as we made our way to Los Jalepenos for Mexican food!  

We ate to our hearts content and then headed over to Pals for milkshakes.  Seriously, they are the best milkshakes!  Then we headed back to the campsite and cabins and got ready for bed.  Everyone was exhausted.

There really are no words to say thank you to Jamie, or his family for their sincere generosity and kindness.  We have been so blessed to have met you all and to have had the opportunity to spend time with you guys.  Now that we are headed out of the south, lets start making those plans for your visit up north!!!  

Aside from the time that we have had together as a family, the sweetest part of this journey are some of the friends that we have made.  We truly have been able to meet some of the kindest people this world has to offer.  We are so inspired and challenged to live life with open hearts, open minds and open hands.  

Thank you Jamie for your enthusiasm to see us through this journey… you motivate us to keep going, even when we think about giving up. 

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