Say “YES!”–River Rafting on the Colorado River in Moab, UT

Since we have been on this road trip, I’ve faced several moments of decision where I had to say “Yes, I will” or “No, I won’t” to new and different things that were far out of my comfort zone (some of them were downright scary, terrifying in fact!). For most of my life I automatically said “NO” to something unless there was a compelling reason to say “YES”. That made for a safe, but boring, life.

I never camped in places like this setting safely inside my four walls!

I never camped in places like this sitting safely inside my four walls! Moab, UT

The problem was, life was safe but it was also monotonous, hollow and soul-sucking; a drudgery I was only trying to endure and survive. It made me miserable! Being forced into vandwelling brought some excitement and adventure into life and opened my eyes to the possibility of a whole new way of living. In the last 5 years I’ve opened up to new possibilities, but really, it was writing for this blog that has been the final nail in the coffin of a life-time of playing it safe.

The more I said "NO!" the more I cut myself off from these places.

The more I said “NO!” the more I cut myself off from these places. Colorado River, Moab, UT

In a recent Sunday post I wrote about developing a life of adventure (https://cheaprvliving.com/blog/why-choose-a-life-of-adventure-thru-hiking-the-colorado-trail/). I said that every human was born with an adventurous spirit as evidenced by children’s endless curiosity and exploration, but that society beats that wild hunger for adventure and exploring out of us. It might seem that in my Sunday Sermons I am preaching to you, the readers, (and some of you are offended by them) but the truth is I am preaching to myself! I am the one who needs those pep-talks and inspirational messages; you are just eves-dropping!

I see this view every day from my camp in Moab, UT. But only because I said, "YES!"

I see this view every day from my camp in Moab, UT. But only because I said, “YES!”

So after a year of being forced to formulate my thoughts and feelings for this blog in such a way that you could all understand them, they are finally sinking through my thick skull!! That Sundays post (especially the chart I developed for it) about adapting a “childlike” attitude of “YES” has become my motto in life. And not just as an “idea” in my head, but a feeling in my heart and actions I take!

Follow the list on the right and say "NO!" and you will be safe and boring. I am choosing to follow the list on the left and say "YES!" I'm very glad I did!

Follow the list on the right and say “NO!” and you will be safe and boring. I am choosing to follow the list on the left and say “YES!” I’m very glad I did!

It began with the decision to do this trip. I could think of some good reasons to just stay home and not go at all. Would I follow the safe, logical course, or say “YES!”?

These were some reasons not to go:

  1. It was expensive,
  2. It would mean a lot of work getting the van ready to live in and transferring my daily living things from the trailer into it.
  3. I might hate living in a low-top van
  4. I wouldn’t have TV for a month or two (and I love my Satellite TV!)
  5. I’ve been to all those places before
  6. It’s getting cold and we were going into cold country
  7. My knee might not be up to some of the hard hikes I wanted to do.

Those were pretty compelling reasons to not take a road trip, and in the past they would have won the argument. But ultimately that Sunday Sermon swayed me, I simply need to say “YES” to a life lived to its fullest. I have totally come to believe that a life dictated by the rules of safety, logic and reason is not a life I want to live. A big factor was when I saw Forrest’s and Beth’s pictures from their Jeep tour http://alpinetourco.com/jeep-tours/. The trip would be as much about seeing friends again (and helping them out with their new business) as well as seeing some beautiful country I had never seen before. I knew I had to go, and I am so glad I did; this has been one of the best times of my life!

And just think, this photo was taken just a 3 hour drive away from the photos of the Jeep trip. Moab, UT

And just think, this photo was taken just a 3 hour drive away from the photos of the Jeep trip. Moab, UT

To pick up where we left off; after the Jeep Tour we spent a few more days in Ridgway, but a big winter storm was in the forecast so we said goodbye to Beth and Forrest and left for Moab where it was much warmer.

I love Moab!! It is one of my favorite places, certainly in my top 3 places in the country. It might well be my number one favorite place anywhere! People come here from all over the world with only one goal in mind: adventure and fun! So the whole town is just full to the brim with Jeeps, Off-Road vehicles, motorcycles, ATVs, mountain bikes, hikers and vans and RVs of every kind and description to house them. Each and every one of them with the single purpose of having fun or getting hurt trying!

Because I had already spent quite a bit of time here, my main goal was not to take scenery photos; it was to take adventure trips. There are so many different things to do here its hard to decide which ones to take advantage of:

  • River Rafting the Colorado
  • Horseback Riding
  • Jeep Tours of the Red Rock Country
  • Flightseeing Trips
  • Balloon Rides
  • Rappelling off Mountains
  • Skydiving

With my new-found sense of saying “YES whenever possible, there wasn’t a question of IF I would do any of those things, but only of WHICH ONES would I do? The first one we decided to do was go River Rafting on the Colorado with Canyon Voyages   http://www.canyonvoyages.com/. Judy was interested in doing that as well and the prices were very reasonable. So we started there. We decided on a ½ day mild raft down the Colorado. The rapids were easy and the price was low. It only cost $52 each and we had a coupon for 25% off the second ticket so Judy’s was only $40. That was a great price for a raft trip including lunch! If I did it and wanted more of a challenge I would do another full day raft that included some very rough Class 4 and 5 waters (on a scale of 1-6 with 6 being essentially non-navigable with extreme risk of injury or death).

Putting in the boats.

Putting in the boats.

Now, as you read this, you must understand that I don’t know how to swim!! If I fell out of that raft without a life-preserver, it meant certain death. I know it’s odd that I can’t swim, but I grew up in Anchorage, Alaska where for 8 months of the year water is solid in ice form. And for those few months when it is a liquid it is miserably cold! In the 1960s, when I was a child, there were no public-pools in Anchorage so I never learned to swim and I do NOT associate water with fun in any way.

Our wonderful (and attractive!) guide Mariah teaching us everything we needed to know to be safe on the water.

Our wonderful (and very attractive!) guide Mariah teaching us everything we needed to know to be safe on the water.

But I was determined to experience all that life has to offer and this is a wonderful part of it for most people so I said “YES” to it and off we went. As soon as we got to the put-in point I had to make a decision. Besides the main raft that holds 12 people they also bring along a small 2-man inflatable kayak that we could take turns riding. If no one wanted to use it, they would leave it behind. Remember, I can’t swim and I have never been in a kayak before but that chart kept flashing before my eyes and I knew I had to take risks, be spontaneous and bold and say “YES”. After all, what’s the worst thing that can happen?

Mariah launching the boats.

Mariah getting everyone in the boats.

The only risk is it that will roll over and I will float in the water in my life-vest and I can pretend to swim while I try to climb back in the kayak!” If the worst thing that can happen is I will have even more fun, what’s not to love!!? So I told our guide, Mariah, “YES” I’ll do it! And I did.

I don't have any pictures of me in the raft, just the ones I took from the raft.

I don’t have any pictures of me in the raft, just the ones I took from the raft.

Another fellow and I went in the 2-man kayak and tagged along behind the main raft until we put in for lunch, and then two other people took over the kayak for the rest of the trip.

Here is the couple who took over the kayak after me. Their doing just what I did, being awestruck by the scenery!

Here is the couple who took over the kayak after me. Their doing just what I did, being awestruck by the scenery!

The rapids were surprisingly difficult in the little kayak. What made it worse was our near total inability to handle the crazy thing. Since it was both of our first time in a kayak, we had some problem just going in a straight line; we under-steered, then over-steered, then under-steered again. Mariah said to hit the waves straight on or they could flip the boat if we got sideways. Our first waves we messed up and hit them broadside, but fortunately they were the easy ones so we didn’t flip. By the time we got to the next two rapids we had figured it out and hit all the waves square on–so we were at no risk of overturning. But, in an inflatable kayak they seemed like some pretty big waves! I was totally soaked after the first rapid.

This is a shot of the waves I took from the big boat. They threw the little Kayak around plenty for me!

This is a shot of the waves I took from the big boat. They threw the little Kayak around plenty for me!

But it was fun and I am really glad I did it. Unfortunately I didn’t expect any excitement from these “mild” rapids, so I left the GoPro behind and I don’t have any pictures for the rapids—I was too busy trying to stay in the boat to take pictures!

Here's where we stopped for lunch and we all took off the PFDs and relaxed. Only the folks in the kayak had to wear the helmets. Mainily for fear we would get hit in the head with an our!

Here’s where we stopped for lunch and we all took off the PFDs and relaxed. Only the ones in the kayak had to wear the helmets. 

All in all it was a great day with a wonderful guide and a simple but very good lunch; and the scenery from the river was amazing! I’m really glad I did it! We are still in Moab and I’m not sure if I will do the more dangerous raft or not. I slightly sprained my knee doing another adventure and I’m not sure it is going to let me do anything else or even continue the trip. But, that is a story for another day: to be continued!

Mariah putting out a great spread for lunch. There is something about being out in the beauty of nature that makes food taste so much better!

Mariah putting out a great spread for lunch. There is something about being out in the beauty of nature that makes food taste so much better!

Can't have enough pictures of me!

Can’t have enough pictures of me!

Being out on the water, you just had to smile!! There was a wind for much of the trip and Mariah really got a work out on those oars keeping us moving. It made me tired just watching her.

Being out on the water, you just had to smile!! There was a head-wind for much of the trip and Mariah really got a work out on those oars just keeping us moving. It made me tired just watching her! You can see a rapids coming up.

A view I found near out lunch-site.

A view I found near out lunch-site.

Judy taking off her vest for lunch.

Judy taking off her vest for lunch.

This is where we took the boats out of the water.

This is where we took the boats out of the water. It was right after the last rapid of the day. You can see they are really pretty mild.

Judy and I enjoying the ride.

Judy and I enjoying the ride.

Bob
About

I've been a full-time VanDweller for 12 years and I love it. I hope to never live in a house again!

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