Aug. 24, 2016
Everything was set up and ready to go. I had gone back to my tent but had a hard time sleeping. I knew we were taking a big risk but I really wanted to get back home. I thought the night would never end. I could tell it was starting to get light outside. Morning was finally here!
Then, out of nowhere there was a bright flash and then a Kaboom! I mean a loud Kaboom! I wasn’t sure what was going on and then the wind and rain came. It was a thunderstorm. This was a big thunderstorm and it seemed to be right above us. The good thing about a big thunderstorm is that it does not last very long.
I knew my tent would be okay because I am used to storms when we go camping. It is all in where you place the tent and how you secure it. My tent was secured.
I figured I should check on my buddy to see how he was doing. I put on my rain gear and went over to his tent. He was awake. The thunder was very loud so I doubt anyone could sleep through that.
“How are you doing?” I asked.
“Okay. I guess we won’t be going until this is over.”
“I am sure the storm is making the water run faster and we do not want to fight the natural current and what they are going to throw at us. We will go as soon as the storm passes. I am going to go down to the water to make sure our equipment is okay.”
“Do you think you should? This storm is really bad.”
“I would hate to lose anything with this wind. I will just make sure everything is secure and come right back. Do you want to come with me?”
Wow, that came out fast. I guess he must be afraid of the thunder and lightning.
“I will be right back,” I said.
It was a really bad storm and the wind was very strong. I actually thought it would lighten up by now but it wasn’t showing any signs of stopping. I finally made it to the water and the first thing I saw was our tube in the water downstream. A piece of rope on the tube had gotten caught on a branch and that was all that was holding it from being gone! I had to get to it and get it out of the water. How? I knew if I touched the water, it was all over. I also knew either the branch or the rope was going to give soon. I was betting it was the branch. I had to get out to the branch and get a hold of the rope. The rain was coming harder and harder. The wind was not letting up. If the lightning hit the water while I was in it, I was a goner.
This time I figured I better keep the shoes on. There were four rocks that were sticking out of the water that I could use to get to the branch and the rope. If I slipped on any of them, it would be over. I took the rope from our pulley system and tied it around a tree. I tied the other end to me. If I fell in, I would at least have a fighting chance.
I stepped out on the first rock and got my balance. It was wet because of the rain but not slimy like rocks that have been under the water. The next rock was bigger and flatter on top. I got to that no problem. The third rock was not quite as big and actually kind of pointy on top. I would have to try to straddle that rock. Luckily it wasn’t that far away. I stepped over and immediately lost my balance. I was able to quickly push back and landed on my butt on the previous rock. I kept my feet up and did not touch the water. I knew plan B was needed.
I was not going to be able to stand on the third rock. I was going to have to use it as a step to the fourth rock. Get one foot on it and push off to the fourth rock. The fourth rock had the branch that I could use to help me keep my balance. However, if the branch broke it would send the tube downstream.
The rain and wind were getting worse. It was almost like something didn’t want me to get that tube. I was going to get that tube. I took a deep breath and stepped to the third rock and immediately pushed off and landed on the fourth rock. The branch did indeed help and it held and did not break. I grabbed the rope off the branch and tied it to my waist. The tube was now secured. I just needed to get back.
This rain and wind was not letting up. The thunder was louder and lightning was cracking all around me. I turned to go back over the rocks and the second rock, the bigger flat one, was now under water. I hadn’t realized how fast the water was rising. The rock I was on was going to be under the water soon. I knew the branch could not hold me. I was trapped. The rain would not let up!