A rafting experience
River rafting with our regiment!! This was one expedition I will never forget. Posted in Pathankot at the time. I remember hubby had his knee all swollen and bandaged up because of basketball. The regiment decided to go for a picnic somewhere in the higher reaches of Himachal. In this picnic was included a rafting trip which was to start at 11 am and finish a little down the river by 1.00 for lunch. There were 4 pontoons and about 14 of us (one 80 year old parent, one 8 month old baby).
We set off- in our raft was the only officer amongst all to have ever done any kind of white water training! Since it was to last only 2 hours we were carrying nothing but ourselves and life jackets which were forced upon us. Now began the fun. No one even told us how to hold the oars and what to do with them. We went swinging down the river completely clueless- suddenly there would be one rapid we would hold on for dear life- the pontoon would turn the other way- so we were facing the wrong way down the rapid- and then would kind of crash into the huge boulders before being thrown back into the river to relook if all were aboard before the next one. This madness continued for quite a while. The river would ease up a bit, we would merrily paddle along, get thrown about in the rapid and so on. Then around 1.00 pm we started looking out for signs of the regiment and the lunch tent. I mean we looked for a real long time. ….
The river and the winding hills were endless. There was no sign of another human or should I say anything living for miles around us. We would also lose sight of the other pontoons. Please recall we had not a drop of water to drink. The hot sun beat down on us. If you think we were having a bad time- think again- this was the fun bit- morning stretched into the afternoon- the river had slowed down- we needed to paddle and row hard to move along. The jokes kinda wore thin. Mobiles didn’t exist then – remember? Afternoon went into the evening. The hot sun now seemed to be dipping behind the hills and there was a distinct chill in the air. Chill turned chillier and we were wet and shivering by them (all of us had taken a dunking at sometime in the rapids). The river definitely did not look friendly at night. The steep gorges and wooded hillsides looked menacing at times. We were, by then, unable to see the rocks which loomed up unexpectedly.
We finally met our gang of friends who were dry and on land, at 8 pm along the same river- they had given up on us as lost or dead- but happily reunited to a lot of hugging and a big bonfire!!
A trip to remember.