Article by Alicia Monahan, Southeast Region Ambassador
We were stoke to hold a Whitewater Rafting event in Richmond, VA, especially since there was so much interest in doing a whitewater rafting trip via the Facebook group. There was stoke, as well as hesitation, as some wanted to raft, but did not want a crazy and intense adventure. This trip was perfect for those who wanted an intro to rafting, and/or to simply experience the James River.
Over a week out, the forecast was calling for rain, but we still had participants registering for the event. I mean, you’re going to get wet anyway, right? May as well dance and play in the rain!
The morning that the event was planned turned out to be a downpour, the forecast was correct. SheJumps Ambassadors arrived on scene and set up a pop-up tent so we could have a place somewhat dry for participants to sign in, and look at merchandise to purchase, if they chose to. We were hoping to have a more social intro to the trip, but the rain kind of rained on that parade…pun intended.
Once the rafting company vehicles arrived, it was time to load up and hit the river! All the SheJumpers loaded up onto one bus and we headed to the river. There, we were given a safety briefing, and the equipment needed to get down the river, helmets, PFD’s, and paddles for all!
Three lucky participants even had the special privilege of paddling a bucket boat down the river, with Southeast Ambassador, Alicia Monahan, as their guide! Most of the rafts are self-bailing, meaning the water from the waves is able to get out of the boat on it’s own…this lucky crew had to bail the water out of their boat using their helmets. Teamwork!
The group had some smaller rapids to warm up, before paddling hard through Hollywood Rapid, a well known Class III+ rapid which is located right next to Belle Isle. By this time, I think most of us had forgotten it was even raining, as it had definitely slowed down to a drizzle.
The group got to experience the city of Richmond from a vantage point only those who paddle get to see, floating past the city skyline at the pace of the water.
We stopped at an island called “Blackbird,” where we refreshed with water and pineapple slices, and got to swing off a rope swing. Weee!
After that we headed downstream, where we were promised, “Surf’s up!” What fun that was! Much different than our beach surfing event earlier this summer!
The trip was a blast, and at the end, we paid homage to the river gods for a safe journey down their waters. The great thing about whitewater rafting, is it’s a team endeavor. Everyone had to work together with their guide to get safely down the river. As with any SheJumps event, remember these words from the Maori tribe of New Zealand, “He waka eke noa,” meaning, “We are all in this together.”
We are currently planning to have another whitewater rafting trip in the late Spring/Early Summer, which will hopefully bring higher water, and a greater adventure, so those who enjoyed this trip and want more, will have a completely different experience if they come back, and those who want an awesome ride, sign up if you missed out on this one!