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Study Break: White Water Rafting

Shing Ann Yeh
Typically, a study break from Finals involves going to the Munchie Mart and buying  tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream to assuage my woes.  However, thanks to a keen eye on Groupon, a dozen of us drove a couple miles out to Ocoee, Tennessee and went white-water rafting.

6:30 AM departure time. If you were wondering, this is the general wake up time of all Vandy students.

Yesterday was the perfect day to do it.  With fifty-six degree weather and a hundred percent chance of showers, we could not have picked a better time to go rafting.  In the cold, rainy weather, we boarded old yellow school buses at Adventures Unlimited and drove out to the top of the river to begin our journey.

On the trip over, we witnessed the Great Smoky Mountains! This was the first time I had ever seen them!

What greeted us at the starting point was a waterfall.  At that point, I thought, oh, maybe we were going to die.  But we ended up carrying our large inflatable rafts to the bottom of the dam-generated fall and got drenched trying to get in between two rocks by the first rapids.  Hitting rocks, paddling through the Class 3 and 4 rapids, and almost getting thrown out of the raft a few times was incredibly exciting!

Ashlin and Daniel proudly viewing their rafting experience.

I officially love white-water rafting.  Of course, I was not sitting in the front two seats, who received the brunt of the waves, but it was so much fun!  At the midpoint, our river guide told us, “This is where I generally let people swim,” so my friend Hannah and I plunged into the water.  Obviously, the boys could not just sit and watch girls brave the thirty degree water, so they joined us.  We can proudly say that we were the only raft (dumb enough) to have had everyone jump in.

Meet my friend Hannah. She's awesome. We are living together next year, I'm stoked!

A fun activity on the rapids is called bull-riding, where someone sits at the top of the raft and grasps onto a single strap as the raft goes through a few rapids.  Naturally, I volunteered.  It was pretty wild, and of course, there was that tiny voice in the back of my head that which screamed that maybe that wasn’t the greatest idea because falling out meant getting caught in a current which would bash me into rocks, but it turned out all right, as a giant wave threw me back into the boat.  Right on.

This is so fun. I really want to go on Class 5 rapids now!

After much-needed hot showers and a change of clothes at the headquarters, we began our three-hour road trip back home.  My friend Berube impressed us with his vast knowledge of songs, powers of harmonization, and simultaneous dancing and driving.  I was also introduced to “Pop Danthology,” which is one incredible mash-up of the year’s top hits.  On the way, we stopped at Zaxby’s, where we gobbled up the greasy hot chicken our bodies craved from our state of  almost-hypothermia .

The McDougal's taste-alike chain.

This was one of the better study breaks I have ever taken.

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