I took a cab to the rapids once.

When I lived in New York for a few years, one of my many residences was a tiny studio apartment. It was smaller than my boss's office. It was at the corner of 49th and 1st, in Midtown, and I walked to work when I wasn't lazy and took a bus or cab.

I paid an insane amount of cash each month for my teensy apartment because it was a(n) illegal sublet and didn't require a broker fee, first and last month's rent and the future down payment of your first child, which was what getting an apartment was like.

But sometimes being stuck on that tiny island would get claustrophobic. There's very little nature on there, except for Central Park, but you can still see the buildings from Central Park so you can't really convince yourself that you're out in nature. And the tiny walls of my apartment would close in on me if I spent too much time in there. Everything combined would give me this feeling that I needed to flee. At once!

And during one of these times, I thought, Hmmm. Sure would like to go white water rafting.

That would be a nice escape. But no one was really around that weekend. Could I do this solo? I don't have a car. That could be a problem. But there's public transportation. I could do that! It's a long trip to the nearest rapid, roughly 5 hours. Where would I stay? A B&B is nearby. Perfect!

So I sat on the floor at my computer because there was no room for a desk in tiny apartment and I planned it out. I would head to the Adirondack Mountains. Where it is so scenic and beautiful and I feel one with the earth.

Did you know that's where the Mohawk Indian tribe settled long long ago? That could be why I feel so connected to those mountains. They've always been some of my favorite. My family is Mohawk (I'm 1/4) and my Godmother and her family lives on the Indian Reservation in Kahnawake, near Montreal in Canada. The drive is a straight shot from New York, up through the Adirondacks just over the Canadian border (my sister and I were mooned once on that highway by a passing vehicle's passengers. Little tidbit.)

Anyway, onward to the escape. I plotted carefully. I booked me a slot for a full day of rafting on Sunday. Made a reservation at the B&B, yep, for just little ol' me, for one night, Saturday night, but barely. Because I'd be getting there late at night and checking out at 6 a.m. Then I got the bus schedule.

So Saturday I hopped on the bus armed with my CD player because that was before IPods or at least before I had one, took the five hour tour up through the mountains and was dropped off at the bus stop, where I took a cab to the B&B. It was about 11 at night.

The lady answered the door like, oh, you're here. And she delivered the information that would have been useful YESTERDAY that there was no room at the Inn.

She told me there was a wedding party who didn't make the correct number of reservations so she gave my room away. But she generously let me sleep on the couch for free (though I slipped her $25 bucks -- boy isn't that nice in hindsight! Ha!), which was in a library-ish room with a door. Good enough for me.

I woke up early because my raft was leaving at 8 with or without me and it was a bit of a ride to get to the rapids. But my cabbie guy was really friendly and said they'd do it and they were expecting my call when I dialed them up that morning. Nice nice people.

And when I pulled up at the rapids, everyone stopped and looked at me. Why did I feel so funny? It was like there was one of those loud, record- scratching moments where the music stopped. And people were staring and whispering.

I guess it's weird in these parts to not have a car. I got so used to hailing cabs in New York, I didn't have any qualms about taking them in any other town, city, locale, anything. I forget that there are actually places where it's not entirely normal to take cabs everywhere.

There were mostly families of four or more unpacking their cars and getting all their stuff together, and then me. Stepping out of the cab. Which I forgot too that without a car, there really is no place to put my stuff. So I made nice with the rafting people and they let me keep my belongings in the office. I was starting to feel like a hobo. With my stuff wrapped up in a little red hankie/baggie on a stick.

On the river, I was the only person on the raft with no people. It was two families and me. But that was ok. I got to chatting with the guide. He was nice. I love rafting so much. Obviously enough for me to take this trip and wind up there in a cab.

The best part about rafting is when the exhilaration of going through and over the huge dips and curves and paddling feverishly through the giant schwooshing water trying desperately not to flip the raft or fall out -- there is a calm. Where no one is paddling and the raft is drifting and on both sides of you are giant mountain walls, with trees, and boulders, and pure, 100% unadulterated nature. The air is so clean and pure that it gets into your blood and invigorates you. You're alone with the people on your raft and it's silent. Except when you are sharing life stories which is what happens on rafting trips and then you become so close in those few hours that you actually think you may hang out with these people in real life afterward. But it never really happens. And then there's the part where you park the raft and jump off the rocks into the refreshing ice cold water. It is breathtaking. The whole thing.

By the way, throughout all this life-storytelling on the raft, my guide actually made me pause to briefly think about becoming a corporate dropout and pursue a career as a raft guide. It was fleeting, but very serious. I even looked up classes for certification, places to live...

Anyway, it was a lot of fun and I didn't fall in which is always a bonus. And the guide drove me to the busstop afterward.

In hindsight, I don't know how I would have gotten back to that busstop. The cab drove me out there, but they don't usually pick up people out there. It was actually really far. And in hindsight, I can't even really believe I went up there with no transportation. I kind of spent a fortune on the bus/slash/cab and if the guide didn't drive me to the busstop, it could've been disastrous.

But it wasn't. I look back on that trip as one of the most liberating times of my life. One of the very few times I flew literally by the seat of my pants, with a skeleton of a plan. So I didn't think things entirely through. Or maybe I did, but things didn't wind up exactly as I had planned. But aren't those the best kinds of trips?

My Sunday Specials here are trips down memory lane. Sit down, have a cup of tea, and kick back while I share way too much about myself.
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  1. Those are TOTALLY the best kinds of trips!! I have lived my life like that many a times! Love it! ;o)

  2. HOW COOL.
    I never knew you did this on sundays.

    loved the story and it made me recall, too, the FEW TIMES I flew but the seat of my pants and all I learned by doing so.

    now Im fretting about my toddler doing that when she's older ;)
    I never ever STILLNEVER told my mom about my times :)


  3. Sounds like such a great trip! I love the trips down memory lane and enjoy taking them myself!

  4. Sounds wonderful. This also makes me miss New York. My people are up there too. My mom was born on the St Regis Rez (also Mohawk).

  5. I love those trips that take me out of my comfort zone. Maybe not so much while I'm going through them, but definitely after the fact when I realized what I did and that I survived. What a great story!

  6. I'm from New York myself. I LOVE rafting. Haven't been in such a long time. Sounds like a great time!!!


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