My parents planned river trips for the family reunions on both sides of our family. They reunions were on back-to-back weekends. Because of some other commitments we were only able to attend one of the reunions. Fortunately, all of my brothers and sisters were able to attend the same reunion. It was fun to see cousins that have moved away from the area and that we haven't seen for years.
Floating the Green River is one of our regular family reunions but because of pregnancy and young children, I haven't been on the river for years. In fact, 16 years ago Utah Dad and I got engaged the night before the river trip. That might actually have been the last time I was on the river. This year, my mom graciously volunteered to stay with the small children and we took Neal, Amberly and Thomas with us. Neal went with Utah Dad a few years ago but this was the first time on the river for Amberly and Thomas.
Manipulated by the cousins who really wanted to be together, we ended up on the same raft with my brother and his wife and two of their children. My dad was on our raft too. With such a fun group we were insured of a great time. My siblings, cousins and their families piled onto several additional rafts and we headed down the river starting just below the Flaming Gorge Dam.
We had a great water fight battle right off the start. Thomas screamed like a little girl and we were all soaked to the bone. It was awesome! Thomas did eventually get into the spirit of things and enjoyed himself.
As we went down the river my brother Nate on our raft noticed that one of our cousin's head had poked above a large rock in the middle of the river. "They're waiting to ambush us," he whispered. Calling to our other brothers on another raft we made a plan to go on either side of the rock and ambush them instead. We pulled the raft up to the other side of the rock. Nate jumped out of the boat, climbed up the rock and cannon balled into the water next to my cousins' raft.
Nate, in the water below the raft, grabbed onto the nearest life jacket and pulled. He met with strong resistance so he braced himself with his feet against the side of their raft and yanked harder, finally pulling the victim into the cold river. Our raft rounded the big rock just in time to see Nate being chased by a very determined and accomplished swimmer. Nate's expression was of sheer panic. We were in awe as his pursuer placed a hand on his U hat and dunked him under the water. (He did recover the hat.)
My first thought was "which guy in that raft has a pony tail?" Then she turned and I recognized my cousin Robb's wife. All the guys had hurried to the other side of the raft and left the woman at the mercy of Nate's surprise attack. We teased Nate about being "taken down by a lady". It was seriously awesome.
We stopped along the river to jump and dive off the cliffs into the cold water. We watched the guys jump from the highest cliffs. Neal jumped off. Amberly jumped. Thomas jumped. I am terribly uncoordinated in water (even more than on land) and I have never ever jumped into the river. My sister-in-law Michelle insisted that our sister-in-law Jen and I join her by jumping off (a lower, wimpy level). She counted to three and I had every intention of not jumping off but she was pulling on our hands. We had to go. It was terribly cold but actually rather fun and I did jump off a second time.
Yes, I have very, very white legs. Did I mention that my family is Finnish? We are not supposed to see the sun.
This stretch of the Green River from the Flaming Gorge Dam to Little Hole is a pretty light weight river trip for families with young kids. It can take a few hours or much longer (we went slow and did some of the small "rapids" more than once). And the view is gorgeous!
We had a marvelous time on the river this year. The weather was perfect. The water was cold. And the company was fantastic.
Thanks to my sister Angie (who went down the river on a kayak with her husband) we have all these wonderful pictures of the trip.