I Rode an Alligator

OK. It was an inflatable alligator. But I rode him through Class III rapids. And then got a lecture from my mom and Maggie shortly thereafter. We got up early and floated the Animas River. The rivers in all the U.S. mountain regions this year are up. Flowing far more than in typical years due to all of the snowfall and incredible mountain melt-off. We grabbed some inflatables, tubes, a couple small rafts and my inflatable gator, and we put in and just lazily floated.

As we came upon Smelter rapids, a bend where the river drops, the pace increases and offers the best white water actually IN the town of Durango, everyone else kicked to the eddy to get out of the water, near to where we had parked one car. I should clarify, they pulled to the bank at least 100-200 meters before the rapid. I did with them, then kind of eyed my dad. He knew what I was thinking, but he was in a raft with two kids. No way. As they all pulled out, I kind of floated back into the middle of the river, then started praying.

They noticed my plan, and my mom started screaming. “What are you doing!?” Yes. I had on a life jacket, but I didn’t have on a helmet. It wasn’t my brightest idea. Everyone got out of the water and started sprinting to a better view of the rapids as I approached. I looked up and saw Maggie, and she looked half-excited and half-really pissed off. I just kind of gave a sheepish wave, then focused on hitting the right line. I white-knuckled the grips on that gator’s back, and took the plunge, my feet hanging off the sides, keeping me balanced and kicking like a surfer. I blasted right through, stayed on, came out the other side laughing and squealing like a 3 year old girl.

Maggie just looked at me: “You can’t do that sh*t. At least, you can’t do that sh*t when I’m around! Either do that sh*t with me or do it on your own time. I can’t watch and I can’t not watch!”

It was the first time I ever heard her use profanity. I must be special.

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