I died on the Lochsa and lived to tell about it!

This post marks the triumphant return of Squirrel Thoughts from my harrowing adventure maneuvering the frigid throes of the Lochsa River. I’m alive, dear readers, ALIVE!

OK, so I didn’t die. But I came close — damn close. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Um, no.)

All right, I had a blast. Before we hit the river, I thought I would spend the entire day white-knuckling my paddle, fretting over whether we’d make it through each rapid without my smashing into a boulder and rendering my legs and/or skull useless. As we approached the put-in, I wanted to get on the water as soon as possible, just so we could (hopefully) get off it in the same fashion.

But once we tackled the first few rapids, I couldn’t wait to take on more of the raging river. I loved every minute of it, and my screams transformed from “AHHH, DEATH!” to “Whoo!!”

Don’t get me wrong — my life was at risk the entire time. Sometimes, the only thing saving me from the aforementioned leg/skull crushing was my tiny foot wedged under the rubber tube in the middle of the boat.

And our guide with 11 years of experience navigating the rapids for novices like me.

And my undaunted courage in the face of danger.

And my bulging (but not in a gross, manly way) muscles.

Whatever the reason, not even the most vicious wave could knock me out of that raft, which means I’m practically a professional now! (Legal disclaimer: Allison Squires is not, in fact, a whitewater rafting professional. Squirrel Thoughts Inc. is not responsible for any claims to the contrary and hereby disclaims liability for any and all injuries that may result from reliance on said claims.)

Yes, there were a few times when I couldn’t tell if I was in the boat or if the river had swallowed me whole, but I managed to cling to it nonetheless. (Had I fallen out and died, I doubt my report would be quite as enthusiastic.)

Though I cheated death, my rafting preparations were less than promising. First, I put my Neoprene booties on the wrong feet. But it wasn’t just for a few seconds because I wasn’t paying attention or something. Oh no — I actually put the right booty on my left foot, did the same with the left booty, zipped them up, tucked them under my wet suit, took a few steps, giggled to myself and thought, “These little booties are so funny!”, looked down, wondered, “Hmm, are these supposed to feel so funny?”, contemplated it for a few more seconds, then finally exclaimed, “Oh wow, I think I put my shoes on the wrong feet!” The nervous laughter this elicited from my fellow rafters suggested they found this only mildly terrifying.

Then, while gearing up to return to the river after our lunch break, I somehow managed to put my helmet on backward. I didn’t realize this until someone told me about three rapids in, when it was too late to fix it. Granted, it was hard to tell the front from the back with these particular helmets. (Really, it was!) Still, I didn’t exactly look like a seasoned veteran skilled at escaping a roaring river’s icy clutches.

In fact, I looked a lot like this:

This photo has not been retouched. Unfortunately.

Seriously, would you willingly get into a raft on a river with rapids called “Grim Reaper,” etc., with someone who looks like that? Let’s take a quick poll:

That’s what I thought. But on this particular day, a few courageous souls did. Kudos to you guys, and thanks for the adventure.

(Note: Photos of us on the river are available here. Scroll down and click “06-04-2010 Lewis & Clark” on the left.)

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jason on June 10, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    I loved reading your story and it makes me way less worried about doing it in another week. I too have done the more timid rapids and thought “wow, thats it” but I am not an extreme sports kinda guy, I live vicariously through others. But Lochsa here we come… Thanks for the insight and I won’t feel as bad when I realize my booties have been on the wrong feet all day!


  2. Posted by Shannondoah Settle on May 11, 2023 at 10:43 am

    Most terrifying moments of my entire life were on that river. I am proud to say that I will never go back lol


What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: