This past year, the crew voted on Gatlinburg as the destination for the annual family vacation. We’ve visited before, but the kids were much younger and it was during Christmas. Since we were going in the summer this time, I said “Why not? Let’s go to Gatlinburg again.” So me, Mister, & the Minions packed up the car & hit the road.
I generally let the kids pick the majority of activities for vacations. I was both proud and sad when they chose white water rafting and zip lining as the main activities. Happy because Fric & Frac were following in my footsteps and opting for some high adrenaline activities :-), but sad because my babies are not really babies anymore. 🙁
So we head out to Rafting in the Smokies to partake of their zip lining and rafting facilities. First order of business: the zip lines. This was my second time zip lining and the girls first. They had a blast and attacked it with gusto. We zipped our way through the course with no hiccups. Well… unless you count the times me and Youngest Minion kept getting stuck in the middle of some of the zip lines and had to be repeatedly rescued. Apparently, we were a bit too light and not going fast enough…. Go figure-LOL.
Now that the precursor was out the way, it was time to tackle white water rafting. I got more nervous the closer we got to the launch site. Never mind the fact that I’d called Rafting in the Smokies more than once to discuss the trip, rafting plan, and just how “spirited” this ride down the river was going to be. After repeated assurances we’d be ok, I was feeling pretty good. The kids were all excited, we talked non stop about it for weeks. Then we get to the launch point and the water was turning and churning, the rafts were inflatable O-O (sturdy, but still inflatable), and there was no real easy way for my slightly uncoordinated self to get into the raft gracefully. I just KNEW we were going to lose someone overboard. I just knew it.
But we’d come this far, so now we are all in the raft. Youngest Minion, being a bit on the tiny side, was placed up on the side of the raft next to to the guide because he felt the best place for her was near him. I just bet you know how I felt about that.
“I can keep her on the raft,” he said. “She’s safest up here with me,” he said
Let me tell you, I gave both those statements the HARD side eye (I know Youngest Minion and her fearless streak), but I deferred Mister and the professional. ~insert side eye here just for the official record~.
It’s all fun and games drifting down the river until you hit your first class 3 rapid and Youngest Minion goes FLYING OFF the raft! I was in a near a panic and about to dive head in to get her, but before I could even flip out in proper mommy fashion, the guide had us heading over to her in the raft for the fish out while she was smiling and grinning and floating in circles!
Of course, I’m about to have a heart attack and trying to think of how I am going to explain to the family I lost the baby in the river to the rapids… and here she is just having a grand ole time floating and spinning in the water. Did I mention it was a class 3 rapid?
So once we get her back in the raft, we head down river. All the while, she wants to “do it again, can I do it again?” ~sigh~ kids. 🙂 After another run in with the rapids in which Mister went flying tail over tea kettle out the raft, it was a lovely trip. Once I calmed down enough to just go with it, the kids had ball. We even jumped in the river and floated down stream a bit at one point. The guide was very knowledgeable about the area, so he filled us in on lots of stories about growing up and having fun on the river.
As we glided into the area to disembark, we are all excited, dripping went, and exhausted. We capped off the night with some take out, a few hours in the pool, and some really good sleep.