D is for Dalles


plural noun:
The rapids of a river that runs between the steep precipices of a gorge or narrow valley.

I sure do like my nouns lately. But I had to include this one because it brought up good memories, and reminiscing is fun!

Once upon a time, I was less of a hermit and more of an adventurous youth. A very impressionable one, that could be persuaded do to things that went beyond normal common sense. For example…white-water rafting.

Now I know that white-water rafting doesn’t sound that crazy-dangerous when you compare it to things like bungee jumping or sky-diving. But when you’re an average at best swimmer who never could pass the final swimming test in school because diving into water is scary, than white-water rafting is definitely on par. But I was coerced into thinking it would a fun experience, so away I went.

And it did start out fun. The little rapids felt like we were going over a bumpy road. Enough to make you smile and think “yes, this was a good idea.” And then came what I can now call the dalles…The river began to narrow and large boulders began appearing around us, having long since fell off the sides of the surrounding cliffs. And the water that had been gently gurgling a few minutes early had grown into a loud cacophony of imminent death. Not to mention the tour guide we were with just happened to be crazy (a fact that I wish I had discovered sooner) and decided to drive us straight into the middle of the mad waters. I watched with growing dread as all the other rafts in front of us split off to either side to avoid the worst of it, leaving the path wide open for our doomed boat.

The last thing I remember is the raft being sucked into a giant watery maw…our crazy guide’s shouts of “Just keep paddling!” and “Don’t lose your paddles!”…and then I was suddenly and very rudely Not In the Raft Anymore.

I’m not sure how long I was underwater, with the river pulling me around to and fro, but when I finally broke the surface, the rapids were mostly gone and there was suddenly a beach to my right. My paddle (which I did not hang on to) was floating a few feet away from me. Everyone was out of the raft except for that damn crazy guide, who had hunkered down in the bottom of the thing while the rest of us had been flung out willy-nilly while trying to paddle.

And that’s my white-water rafting experience. I eventually got back into the raft and made it all the way down the river, but you won’t see me jumping to go again. Too bad the characters in my book don’t have that option, mwahahaha.

Anyone else have any experience with dalles? Let me know and we can form an emotional support group!

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