Connor learned how to row a boat today. We went whitewater rafting with a tour guide and had a great time.
The water in the crystal-clear Animas River was flowing slowly, so it could hardly be called rapids. Still, we had a few exciting moments going through churning water and bouncing off boulders as cold water sprayed on us.
Connor didn’t mention electronics once today!
It was our first full day at our destination, and I was hoping the activities would keep his mind off video games, DVDs and TV. Apparently, they did.
Connor called the rafting trip “awesome” three or four times, and I concur. We saw majestic mountains in the distance and towering ash and cottonwood trees along the winding banks.
At one point on our journey, the guide stopped the raft and said we could jump overboard and go swimming. Connor and I looked at each other. We could tell the water was cold from the other swimmers.
“I don’t think so,” he said.
“I’m going in,” I said.
The water was waist-high and, man, it was cold. I quickly decided against dunking my head and torso.
After less than five minutes, I struggling to get back into the yellow inflatable raft and asked the guide the water temperature.
“About 55,” he said.
That’s cold, folks.
The weather was simply ideal: clear skies, temperature in the mid-80s, a slight breeze.
Connor and I were primarily passengers in the raft. We sat side by side in the front, and the guide in the back rowed two large oars, maneuvering us through an obstacle course of rocks.
However, our guide had given us some brief rowing instructions before we pushed off, and he called on us to help move the raft along several times. I was proud of Connor. He grasped the basics of rowing quickly, learning how to hold the oar and row forward and backward.
The guide – a deeply tanned guy in his mid-30s named Ryan – told us to row simultaneously and in rhythm to keep the raft moving in a straight line.
It was a nice metaphor: father and son sitting side by side, rowing in unison toward a destination.
“One, two, three…” Connor said slowly, counting our strokes.
Too bad we didn’t have a camera. The rushing river would have produced some tremendous pictures.
I had intended to bring our camera. But, to my great display, I couldn’t find it this morning. Connor was the last one to use it. I reminded him of that as my frustration grew.
We covered every inch of our cabin – looking under the beds, table, sofa and seat cushions – but couldn’t find it. It had disappeared.
Sometimes, as a parent, you want to give up. Inexplicable things happen, like losing a camera in a tiny cabin. I put myself in time out and took a walk down the gravel road between our cabin and the lake.
I was gone 30 minutes and hoped that Connor had found the camera when I returned. He had not.
“It’s my fault,” he said. “I always lose things.”
“Listen,” I said. “Don’t worry about it. I’m not going to let it ruin the day. Come on. We’ve got to go.”
We didn’t discuss the camera any more.
When we returned to the cabin after the raft trip, I parked the pickup and the campground manager walked out of her office.
She was holding the camera.
“This is yours, isn’t it?” she said.
“Where was it?” I asked in disbelief.
She said one of us – she didn’t point any fingers – left it in the office the night before.
Connor and I looked at each other, and all the frustration over the camera evaporated.
“You were the last one to use it,” Connor said, smiling.
“Yea, right,” I said.
We left it at that. I put my arm around his shoulder, and we walked into the cabin.
It was a good day.
Whitewater rafting photo by Matt Inden/Weaver Multimedia Group and courtesy of the Colorado Tourism Office.
To hear how the trip went day by day, read all of the articles:
- A vacation without video games or TV? Wish me luck
- Our Electronics-Free Vacation Day #1: A Good Start
- Our Electronics-Free Vacation Day #2: “I’m having a great time”
- Our Electronics-Free Vacation Day #3: The whitewater rafting adventure
- Our Electronics-Free Vacation Day #4: The highlight of the trip
- Our Electronics-Free Vacation Day #5: A new discovery
- Our Electronics-Free Vacation Conclusion: Success!