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The raft plunged into the river as we splashed into an adventurous afternoon. We had just gotten off the bus, were we had sung songs the whole ride to the riverbank. Diving up into groups with about five people each, we had finally started our voyage; our destination many miles away. Rafting with my friends at camp was an unforgettable experience.
We floated out onto the water. My friend Jessie Jones sat across from me, we straddled the raft, dipping our water shoes in the river.
“Stroke, stroke, stroke!” The grownup in the back of the raft called. We were starting to get the hang of digging our red and yellow paddles into the little waves.
Out of the blue, we came to a shallow part in the river, the rocks scraping the raft. Jessie hopped out of the raft and pulled us along until the shallow end dropped off and we had to pull her back on.
Another group pulled along-side of us and used their paddles to push us away from them, beginning a water fight. Catching water on my paddle I flung water at them, getting water in my face in return. Our rafts drifted away and we resumed our normal stroking pattern.
“Uh-oh” I said, up ahead there was a sharp tree branch sticking out of the water. We had to use all our might to steer away, we barely missed the branch.
We continued strongly and steadily stroking. The green trees stood out on the red dirt and brown rocks. The sides of the river were rough and jagged with parts of trees sticking out over the river.
We passed another raft and started sing, “Na, na, na, na, hey, hey, hey, goodbye!” We were making good time as we swept speedily down the river when I felt a raindrop on my arm. The clouds seemed to burst, spilling millions of raindrops upon us. We laughed and giggled at rain until it grew harder and harder. Soon the raindrops felt like bullets hitting our backs. We had to put on our hats and sunglasses (that we packed for a hot, blistering afternoon) so we could see where we were going without our eyes getting pelted with rain.
A loud thunder arose shaking the trees, shaking the water, and shaking my eardrums. We saw lightning in the distance and I recalled the fact that water is not exactly the best place to be when there are electrical bolts of lightning nearby.
There was screaming, “GET IN THE RAFT!” and “Hurry! Row faster!” mostly coming from the nervous adults in every raft. I rowed as fast as I could and as hard as I could until my arms ached. More thunder, more rain, and more screaming occurred. Finally we reached a place were we could get out and stop. We set the rafts up sideways, like tents, with the oars. Everyone was soaking wet, shivering, covered with dirt, and hiding underneath the rafts for protection. I sat on the pebbles and watched the bugs crawl all over the ground.
Eventually we were able to get back in the rafts and head toward our halfway point. It was still pouring rain and I had no idea why we were getting back out on the dangerous river, but trudged to the raft anyways. We rowed, barely speaking, through the sheet of rain.
Finally, we reached the mid-way point and stopped to eat lunches from soaked paper bags. We headed home almost as in slow motion and threw on dry clothes. Later, we found out that the rafting company that had just rented us rafts had such bad business that year they were willing to let us 100 girls go out on the water without even telling us how dangerous it was! I will never forget this truly life-threatening experience at camp and how much fun I had rafting with my friends.