My Mom is ALWAYS prepared for anything and everything. Mom always had the bandaid, the bugspray, the sunscreen, the chains for the car tires in snow, a shovel, a first aid kit, jumper cables, matches, enough water, extra snacks, a jacket and blankets if we were driving in the winter, Benedryl, Asprin, Ibuprofen, ice packs. You name it, she had it. Just. In. Case.
Because you NEVER know what life is going to throw at you, especially when dealing with things in nature. It's better to be prepared than to be naive. And we were very naive yesterday. We overestimated our abilities and underestimated nature's power.
The plan for the day was a hike to Concord Falls. Ten of us SO's piled into two cars and took the drive up the island to Tempe. We arrived at our destination with lots of energy and enthusiasm, ready to take on the world. We were offered a guide, but we didn't take it.
Lesson #1 of the day: If you have the option of a guide, take it.
The hike up to the waterfall was perfect. A little muddy, a little buggy, and a little hot, but we weren't afraid to get down and dirty.
|Remember this river crossing.|
Lesson #2 of the day: When the weather changes, turn around and head back. Immediately.
The trail back had become less of a trail, and more of a stream of water. Our legs were ankle deep in water and mud and it was extremely slippery. We had crossed over the river on the hike up at least 5-6 times and the first time we came to a crossing on the way back, it was obvious that the water level had risen and the rapids had increased. We made the first two crossings with only moderate difficulty, but by the time we got to the third crossing, the one pictured at the top, we were in for a big surprise. Where the water had been only shin deep the first time, it was now waist deep and it had widened. The rocks initially used as stepping stones were completely covered, and the water was now coming down full of rapids and full of force.
The girls at the front began to try and wade across by linking arms and creating a chain and a couple made it across successfully, but the current was just too strong. Our friend Cat's feet were swept out from under her and in an instant, she was being carried down the river. Luckily, Kelsey reacted on instinct and made a grab at her backpack. She was able to pull Cat up, with the help of a couple of other girls. Cat is thankfully okay, but her fall was enough to make us all realize that we just couldn't safely get anyone else across without some help. We were in trouble.
Lesson #3 of the day: Never underestimate the forcefullness of a raging river.
The girls that had made it across were sent to try and find help, while the rest of us contemplated other alternative ways to get across. Thankfully, God sent us some guardian angels in the form of the Grenadian men that had offered themselves as guides initially. They had gotten worried about us as the rain started to come down and decided to come looking for us.
These men were able to help us across the raging water, but the trouble wasn't over. There were still two more spots where we were supposed to cross. The men decided it wasn't worth the risk and took us on a machete carved trail through the jungle. It wasn't easy, and it was still scary since we were on an edge with the rushing river below us, clinging to trees, vines, and roots. But we all made it back with only minor cuts and scrapes.
I am so thankful that no one was seriously injured and that Cat is okay. It was scary for all of us, but most of all for her. But Cat was such a trooper through it all.
Consider these lessons learned for the future.