Tuesday, August 19, 2014

White Water Rafting Adventure

We recently went white water rafting on the South fork of the American River in Coloma. Needless to say, it was an exhilarating experience. The day-long, 21-mile rafting trip gave us a tremendous adrenaline rush and wonderful memories to cherish.

White Water Rafting on South Fork American River
Thanks to a groupon deal, I discovered ActionWhiteWaterRafting.com. They have an option of 10 mile and 21 mile trip. Since we were driving up all the way from the South Bay, I thought of getting the most out of our trip and ventured to do the 21 mile trip. Obviously, it wasn't the brightest of plans given that it was only my second rafting trip. Even the guide thought we were crazy to undertake this. But we all survived!

We started from Sunnyvale on Friday evening and stayed overnight at Best Western hotel (totally awesome and reasonably priced) in Sacramento. The traffic was terrible on the way and we got delayed by an hour. Reporting time at Camp Lotus was 8.30am so we started from our hotel at 7.30am and reached on time. Once we presented our liability waivers, we were asked to assemble at the counter at 9.10am. They allow only sunscreen and water bottles on the boat. Rest of your stuff stays in your car. We were handed out life jackets and a 25 minute bus ride took us to the rafting site. While on the shuttle, the guide gave us a 'safety-talk' which was basic things about holding the rafting tee, dos and don'ts to ensure safety of oneself and others. 

Us At Camp Lotus
Since we were four of us in our group, we were assigned a separate raft with our guide Alyssa. At around 10.30am we got into the river. It was a hot day and the water was freezing. After teaching us the basic commands, we started our trip. The first 10 miles had two major rapids namely 'meat-grinder' and 'troublemaker.' It was a thrilling experience and one that made me feel so alive. There were several smaller rapids too which were fun. The worst part of the trip was paddling through the still sections of the water. That took a lot of effort and got boring as well as tiring pretty soon. Once the 10 miles was up, we stopped for a much needed lunch break. There was a barbeque organized which to our tired bodies and growling bellies was a feast. After downing a handful of cookies, a few glasses of lemonades and a veggie burger, we continued to the second section of the trip. 

The heavy lunch and physical activity made it difficult for us to pick up pace. However, Alyssa was very encouraging and kept us entertained with stories about rafting, her life and Coloma. The second section had 3 main rapids-Bouncing rocks, Satan's cesspool and Hospital Bar. At the Hospital Bar our raft hit the rock and instead of bouncing off it, it caused the raft to tilt sideways and everyone except Alyssa and I were thrown into the river. But they all had their life jackets on so there was nothing to worry despite the fact that all of us were non-swimmers. After a few minutes, everyone made it safely back to the boat and we kept paddling. 

By the end of the trip, all of us were wiped out. We waited for a while to check out our pictures that were taken by the photographers perched on the rocks near the three main rapids. The prices for the photographs were ridiculous though. $100 for the full set so we settled for just one picture and headed back to the hotel.

It was intense activity but one that was thrilling and so much fun. I know I will be back next summer but I guess I will go with the shorter trip instead of the full trip so I can enjoy the feeling instead of being exhausted at the end of the day. 

I was very happy with Action White Water as they were professional, friendly, reasonably priced and the food was good. For those of you who love water and adventure, this is one activity you must not miss!

What: White Water Rafting
Where: 5461 Bassi Rd, Lotus CA 95651
When: Summer months (June-Aug)
Fee: Check for groupon deals

Friday, August 8, 2014

Shakespeare in the park

Summer means there are a ton of events in the park and most of them are free. Shakespeare in the park is one such event. This year the play chosen was 'The Taming of the Shrew.' It is held in various cities in the Bay Area and we attended the one in Cupertino Memorial Park. 

Armed with blankets and picnic baskets, people gathered in the park to see the Bard's comedy brought to life on stage. The almost 3 hours long show started at 7.30pm. The park was packed and everyone seemed to enjoy the show. The costumes, lighting, sound and stage were very professional. The cast gave a lovely performance and my favorite was Katharina, the Shrew. 

View of the stage and the spectators
There was a 15 minute interval during the show. Portable toilets for public use were installed which was a blessing. Tea, coffee and a few snacks were also sold during the break. A lot of families mostly with kids left during the interval. We stayed on until the end and thoroughly enjoyed it. The only annoying part was the disturbance by children and the fact that it got really chilly at night and we only had a light jacket. Apart from this, it was a wonderful evening. 

The Taming of the Shrew performance

What: Shakespeare in the park
Where: Multiple locations. Check website
Website: www.sfshakes.org
When: Summer of each year
Fee: Free; donations accepted

Us at the park