Trouble at Troublemaker rapid, South Fork American River, 1999
(on raft right) Matt, Fi, Nitish. (on raft left) Ken, Angie, Sherry. (at the helm) Joe.
Troublemaker was a run we had done very many times. Angie was a bit nervous about the Troublemaker since she had
had some mis-adventure before on another whitewater rafting trip. Ken and I were confidently telling her - "Don't
you worry, it'll be over before you know it!"
The crew responded to Joe's command a bit early and next I know, the raft had spun around and I was
about to be tossed out of the raft. I held on to the carabiner. Before Matt was able to realize, he went
flying on the other side, landed on Angie taking her down into the rapid. Ken had no chance to recover and
did a scissor kick in the air before going into the waters. I had held on somehow, amidst the tossing about of
the boat, was still in the raft miraculously and was trying to bring Sherry back into the raft. The raft decided
to accede to the water's request and sort of stood up on the side. I was still hanging on inside. Uh oh!...Joe
was gone and Sherry was gone too. Only Fi and I remained, trying to balance the raft as it was being tossed
about in the rapid. I felt strangely calm as the white water rushed by from both sides of the raft. And,
there was the RapidShooters professional photog snapping this episode.
After what seemed like eternity, a gentle soul threw us a lifeline, a rope. I caught it but in the ensuing excitement,
did not tie it to a carabiner or a buckle. I held the rope as the raft was being pulled to the shore by people and
the whitewater pulled the raft back. Grimacing, as my palm was being crushed by the pressure of the rope, a paddle
in the other hand, Fi and I pulled on the rope. When the pressure on the palm became unbearable, I let go (if I had
held on for some time, the raft would've come out of the hole). The next I knew, the boat threw both of us out and
there was white foam everywhere. Holding on the paddle, I came up, bumped into a rock and was taken away by the
swift flow. We came up on the other side and the raft was held in the hole, communing, cajoling the water to let it go.
After numerous attempts by Joe to get the raft out, it popped out of the hole by itself.