I Could Have Died Kayaking
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I Could Have Died Kayaking

It was scary to see how intense mother nature really is.

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I Could Have Died Kayaking
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I want to start by saying that I am not in any way a pro kayak-er- I am very much a beginner. I had been kayaking a few times in Austin and we took the new kayaks to a lake in Norman a few days before going to Tulsa, but otherwise, I was very inexperienced. My dad bought kayaks for everyone so we could go kayaking as a family, and we decided that during spring break we would go on our first big trip. So, we got up real early and drove three hours to the Illinois River outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

My dad is part of this Facebook group for people in Oklahoma who kayak, and all the people were extremely experienced compared to my family. We got some wristbands, and drove a couple miles from where we met up to get to the start of our 8 mile kayaking adventure. We set off and everything was fine and dandy, but I was still learning how to use my kayak because it was different from all the other ones I had ever used beforehand.


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We hit a current about a half mile into our journey. I had never kayaked with a current, and I lost control of where my kayak was going. I saw up ahead that half of the river had a LOT of trees, and kept trying to move my kayak away from them, but this current was NO JOKE. I almost missed the tree, but there was a blue kayak that was latched to the end of this tree and once the kayak hit it I was thrown into the woods, literally. It completely redirected the kayak into a tunnel of tree debris. Branches scratched my arms, and I was moving pretty fast through this tree tunnel. I was just hoping that I would have a clear way out.

It kind of looked like this but there was no bridge and there was a rock like riverbed. s0.geograph.org.uk

Well, there was no clear way out, and I ended up trapped in a corner with the current pushing me and my kayak against the roots of one tree, and the branches of another. I was trying very hard not to panic because this current was fast moving, and every time I tried to fight against it, it slammed me further and further into the roots. One of the people who came with us, named Susan, followed me, but was able to navigate carefully so that she was on the riverbed and away from my current entrapment. A lot of people in the party up ahead didn't see what was happening, and I'm glad that she saw me get thrown into the trees- otherwise everyone might have gone on without us.

I was trying hard to fight against this current, and I thought that I would be able to do it if I pushed off the roots of the tree. I flipped my kayak. Flipping your kayak is terrifying, I lost my paddle, I lost my whistle to use if i needed help, and the water was FREEZING cold. For ten years I was a competitive swimmer so I was able to think quickly, and most importantly, not drown. My kayak was still flipped upside-down while I grabbed onto one tree branch with my arms, and found another to position my legs onto. I couldn't see if I could just float through the tree from where I was and I was trying VERY hard not to panic. I was in that position for about 10 minutes while my dad got my kayak and while I was trying to calm myself down. I maneuvered myself to another section of the trees that allowed me to safely move through the tree branches, then swim diagonally across the current to the other side of the riverbed. One of the women with us said that if I hadn't been such a good swimmer things could have been really bad, and she was surprised at how calm I was. The rest of the trip was great. I had a slight sunburn at then end of it, but I'll never forget about it because it was one of the scariest things that has ever happened to me.

So, last spring break was interesting... to say the least.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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