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U.S. National White Water Center
By: Wendy Crim

Just a short drive from Charlotte on I-85 will find you in a wonderful area perfect for the family. This man-made activity center is incredible, and perfect for a group with varied interests. Someone can take a camera, taking pictures of the various activities in a peaceful setting, while someone else can rock wall climb (cheap!) and another person can ride a bike on the trails. A group can get into the water by signing up to raft- which is what we did! My Aunt and Uncle and their grown son, plus his wife, joined my husband and I for an adventure not to be forgotten! After a brief instruction session our leader/instructor led us to the boat. All 6 of us found our seat and grabbed a paddle. The instructor made sure we remembered the details he had given about how to sit and how to hold on to both the paddle and the boat.

The first few times we went down a less challenging channel in order to become acclimated with the water and the process. Even though I had not brought extra clothes (thinking I wouldn't get very wet) I revelled as the water sloshed and splashed in our faces and into the boat. We all fought the waves with our paddles and bodies, learning techniques such as "surfing" and other typical white water rafting maneuvers.

Soon our leader advanced us to the more challenging route. As we entered behind our safety raft, we noticed the rougher water and the more challenging rapids. Before anyone had a chance to voice anything, we were twisting and turning through the channels and suddenly the safety boat was upside down before us! Enjoying every minute we relished the challenge to maneuver around them and into calmer water, where we began trying to offer the would-be rescuers a hand. Soon everyone was right again and we were off to go back around.

The second time through the more challenging course, we were not so lucky! It was our turn to hit the rapids wrong, and into the water we all 7 flew. As I swam under the upside down boat, I recalled the excellent instruction the leader had provided, and was easily able to maneuver myself out of any perceived danger. With a little water up my nose but no worse for the wear, I swam in the currents toward the shore, with calmer water. Two of my companions joined me and we climbed a fixed ladder up to the edge of the channel. From our viewpoint we were able to observe another companion who was still in the rough water as the safety boat hoisted Uncle inside.. Where were the other two? We looked and looked, only seeing the leader and the boat. They were still beneath the upside down boat, but were safe as it turned out. They were riding the rapids with the boat downstream.

The boat was righted, and soon we all were back inside ready to go again. That rapid wouldn't get us twice! We were off to challenge ourselves again.

Being together with my relatives was so much fun, and the challenge of the course brought my respect for my aunt and uncle to a new level. We already share a great bond, and thanks to the U.S. National White Water Center, new memories keep us close when circumstances of life keep everyone too busy to get together much.



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U.S. National White Water Center
By: Wendy Crim
   
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