What It Feels Like to Whitewater Raft in Alaska

Through the rapids of Six-Mile Creek in 22 untweetable tweets

What It Feels Like to Whitewater Raft in Alaska

The rapids of Six-Mile Creek depicted on a T-shirt

Jeremy Saum

The wonderful thing about being out in nature is that it allows you to unplug from the digital world. But if you can’t post on social media, how will everyone know how awesome the nature—and thus you, for being out in it—was?

I recently got to go on a whitewater rafting trip down Six-Mile Creek in Alaska with Chugach Outdoor Center as part of the Adventure Travel World Summit, a gathering of the Adventure Travel Trade Association. Not only were we out in nature, but we were also in remote Alaska, which meant no Wi-Fi. Not only was there no Wi-Fi, but we were also wearing ridiculous-looking suits meant to keep us dry that had no pockets to hold a phone. Plus there was the whole paddling and trying-not-to-fall-out-of-the-boat thing, which made it tough to tweet. But now that I’m back in civilization, I thought I’d tell you about the trip through the tweets I would have sent.

1. I get in the van with my fellow rafters, all adventure travel pros. Wait, it’s not a van. It’s a Patagonia catalog come to life.

2. Just met Ecuador’s first whitewater guide. Started with one raft now has three hotels. Can he run for president?

3. These dry suits and helmets make even Patagonia models look like dorks.

4. I have surgical tubing to tie around my skinny neck to seal my suit. At least when I fall into the frigid water I’ll be oxygen deprived.

5. Swimming test: I’m about to enter 38-degree water without someone pushing me.

6. I’m sure I will remember everything you are telling me, Captain Matt, when I fall out of the boat and I’m headed for rocks. In 38-degree water.

7. Who wants to sit in front? Ah yes, you two, the ones with the most testosterone.

8. OK, the key is to all paddle together. That was great. Except for the part when you all paddled at different times.

9. I’ve gotten to name a child. But naming a rapid? Now that would be cool.

10. There are 17 rapids on this creek. Three best names, in ascending order: George Foreman, Beaver Drop, Suckhole.

11. Sparkling water running through a beautiful canyon lined with golden-leaved trees. Is that the best you can do, Alaska?

12. Me in rapid: “Whoo!” 38-degree water hits face. “Whoo!” Slide perilously close to raft edge. “Whoo!” Whisper prayer of thanks for Cpt. Matt.

13. That was only a class III rapid? It gets more fun than that? And by fun I mean slightly terrifying?

14. I like how Captain Matt lets us feel like we’re helping.

15. A dude in the other raft just fell out of the boat. On the Suckhole rapid. This fine gentleman will forevermore be known as Suckhole.

16. I just slipped on the rocks when we were portaging and now that helmet doesn’t seem so dorky.

17. Captain Matt just steered us between two rocks we had no business fitting between. Backwards. On purpose.

18. Apparently my soaking, frozen feet didn’t get the memo that this is a dry suit.

19. Men panning for gold on the side of the creek are focusing on least interesting part of creek.

20. When we raft, we think we’re playing with Mother Nature. She’s playing with us.

21. Class V rapids feel much like Class III rapids except awesomer.

22. Bad news: I missed the email that said bring dry clothes. Good news: hot chocolate.

>>Next: Three Alaskan Sounds to Hear Before You Die

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