Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Rafting with Max

My Son Max (20)

I went rafting down the Animas River with my son Max this past Sunday. This summer, he is a raft guide in Durango, CO. I drove out for the weekend to see him. We did a few hikes, but my hope was for him to take me down the river - Just the two of us. I got my wish!

As with anything in nature, there is a certain amount of danger involved whitewater rafting. Even though it isn't a particularly dangerous river, as a guide, he is responsible for the safety of everyone in the boat. Also, I am sure he wants everyone to have a fun experience.

He made it very clear prior to getting on the raft that he is the guide, I am the passenger. He told me he will give me instructions on when/how to paddle, and he will pick the routes through the varying flows.

I used to do a lot of canoeing on lakes when I was young. The goal was to go straight and fast. I found out river rafting is much different. He kept telling me to let the river take us down, I don't need to constantly paddle. Every time we hit a section of rapids, he would say things to me like, "get ready, it's going to be tricky here.' This was usually followed by "2 forward strokes", or "1 reverse stroke," or "Stoke Hard!"

At first it would drive me crazy because I wanted go straight and I thought constant paddling was helping. I wanted to insert my "control." He said, "Dad, I got this - just paddle when I tell you and we will have a great run!"

It turned out to be a new opportunity to practice step three from my recovery program.

Step 3- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.

I turned it over to him as he took control of the boat. Every time he said "Forward 1 stroke" I paddled one stroke. He was eyeing the best routes, taking us through the most exciting rapids and eddies. We slid perfectly between the rocks. It was a rush letting him lead us. He is truly a master of this river.

During the slower sections, we would relax as the current kept us moving downstream. He shared about how much he loves the river and living in Durango. This kid used to be lost. Today, he was in his element with a clear direction of his life. And because I am sober, I get to witness it.

He told me the final section was his favorite. It is more remote and it presents better opportunities to see wildlife. It was a wide section of the river with a lot of rocks.

A great blue heron was perched on one of the rocks. Max told me to watch the bird. It was looking for food down flow of the rock it was perched on. As we got closer to him, I could see him looking for fish. He turned to look at us, and effortlessly flew to the next rock down the river to repeat his quest. We watched him do this 5 or 6 times.

On the final rock, he took off and skimmed along the surface of the water. He dove down. When he came up, he had a fish in his mouth and landed ahead of us on another rock perch. We watched him shake the fish around and swallow down his long neck. While I am sure the people fly fishing nearby were upset at the missed opportunity, we watched with awe.

Not my picture, but you get the idea...

Soon after we came to the take out area where we had parked our car. As we pulled the raft out of the river and loaded it onto the roof of our car, I expressed how much fun this adventure was for me. His smile beamed the expression of pure joy. I'm sure he thought it was going to be just another trip down the river for him. It was an experience we both will treasure.

I wasn't expecting to practice step 3 today. I find when I integrate the steps into my daily life, my days are amazing. I'm sure glad I did, this day was amazing!

#theadventurecontinues #anythingispossible #sober

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