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5/30/03

After unloading from the Lenawee lift for the second time, I headed for a
little stomach rush. The morning corn was cold and fast down along the
angled ridgeline runway to King Cornice. Zoom... splat and go.

Took off from A-Basin and drove east to get some face shots.

My unexpected 7:30 wake up call informed me I'd be doing a rafting trip
down class 5 rapids on Clear Creek. An 8 mile run through wild churning
water in a boat withjust me and 4 guides. They put me in the front.

The whole length of the trip was almost entirely through rapids. Wave after
wave of white blindness in my face. Within the first few minutes our acting
guide was ejected from the boat. A sign of things to come? He was quickly
yanked back in and we paddled on.

Oh, BTW, Jason Malczyk was the guide with the reigns.

He generally steered us into all the biggest waves and most chaotic water.
Through one of the particularly hairy rapids with a name I don't remember,
a little bump into some rocks set off a chain reaction. One of the others
was jarred from the boat. I turned to look at him when Trevor(?), who was
next to me in the front said: "Forget him! Keep paddling!"

We had to straighten up the boat before reaching a gurgling torrent of
water frothing forcefully in a few different directions. I think we got it
pretty close to straight, but I'm not sure of exactly what transpired to
eject Tevor and I into a white water swim. Something happened with a rock
and the right side of the boat dipping and dropping out Trevor. And the
boat folding lengthwise a bit going over something, shooting me straight
out Superman style. Splash.

At this point the bank was completely rocky and presented a challenge in
fast moving water. After a couple tries I was able to latch on and pull
myself out. Got a few bruises, a couple minor cuts, and one hell of a
headrush. Wow!

Back in the boat we raged through more rapids, got big waves crashing down
on us every few seconds, the "self-bailing" raft couldn't keep up with the
incoming water. The river was so high that be had to duck under bridges.
Well, more like laying down in the boat and looking up at concrete and
steel just a few inches from our faces.

After three of these limbo excercises I noticed the high rock walls of a
scenic canyon filled full of burnt looking western earth tones everywhere.
During this brief break between rapids, Jake(?- the first guy swimming in
that sequence) described "So I was clinging to that rock and I heard you
say 'Forget Him', and I thought: I'm dead - they're nervous and they're in
a boat!"

It wasn't until we were carrying our boat back that I realized my toes were
numb and that water actualy was cold. I was too active and exhilirated to
notice all during the trip. All for a very reasonable $10.

Not a bad day. Spring corn skiing in the warmth of the sun followed by a
thrill ride down a relentless river at the end of May.

Hey, somebody had to do it!

mpd

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