• Brandon Quinlan

Going Down

Just then, I heard a huge cracking sound from underneath the right side of the canoe. It almost tossed me out, but I was able to catch myself using my row and the water on my left side. Unfortunately, just as I was about to re-gather myself in the center of the boat my row hit a massive rock underneath the water that knocked it right out of my hand. I had lost complete control. I looked around for something to grab onto, but here I sat. I was in almost the direct center of the river that I’ve already forgotten the name of because of my panic. I remember there being a waterfall nearby that I knew that I was now being pulled directly towards.

The water had gotten really rough on this part of the river and when I turned around I could only see the sky behind me because of the steep drop coming. I tried to use my right hand as a row to turn myself around to at least face forward. If I could see the rocks and the turns coming I could at least brace myself. I turned slowly, but the drop was approaching faster and faster as the current pushed me. I wasn’t quick enough as I was at almost a perfect 90 degree angle to the direction I was being pushed by, my canoe went over. The first big drop pulled my buttocks off the seat instantly. I felt almost weightless for a moment until I grabbed hold of my seat as tightly as I could. The first drop felt like an eternity, but was probably only a second or two. Then my boat crashed against the water, hitting a rock angling the boat forward yet again, and I was being pulled, much faster now than before, downstream.

As the boat was being pushed back and forth by the current I lowered myself as much as I could inside the boat to avoid tipping. The sound of the rocks smashing directly beneath my legs was terrifying. It felt almost as if the boats were going to fall apart, leaving me to either be torn apart by the rocks or drowned by the heavy current. I was holding on for my life just to avoid falling out.

I was able to hold on for two more big drops and the river began to flatten out. Wait… that couldn’t have been the waterfall, right?

That’s when I saw it. Off in the distance I could see the drop. Still being pushed faster and faster towards the edge I looked around for something to grab onto. There was a huge branch jutting out over the left side of the water. I used my hands to row myself towards it. I was slowly moving closer and closer to the branch. It might have been too late though. As the branch gets closer and closer and can’t help but think I won’t make it.

Once again, the bottom of my canoe hit a rock that pushed me towards my new favorite tree. I went rushing towards the bank. Oh shit… am I going too fast?

I grabbed the branch as I passed underneath it. It was higher thanI’d imagined and I had to stand almost fully to reach it. The boat kept going, but I was holding on with my feet while I gripped the tree branch as tight as I could.

The current was pulling the boat as hard as it could and I was beginning to lose my grip. Just then… the branch tore itself from the rest of the tree. My body slammed down against the back of my canoe, almost sending me directly into the raging river beneath me. As I tried to regain my balance and composure and get back inside the large leafy branch caught itself in the water pulling my weight with it. I went tumbling into the water.

I fell in head first and accidentally began swimming towards the bottom before realizing what was happening. As I tried to get back to the surface my head hit a massive rock, almost knocking me out. My head popped up above the water and I tried to figure out where I was, but could barely see because there was so much blood running down my face into my eyes.

I tried to tread water to hold my head above, but could feel myself getting weaker by the moment. I was finally able to clear the blood out of my eyes to see where I was headed. And just then I got pulled underneath and began falling faster than the river could have ever pushed me.

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