This weekend, about two dozen Outdoor Afros came together to camp and whitewater raft on the lower fork of the American River. Inspired by our wonderful time with American Whitewater Expeditions (AWE) last year, we decided to return with more folks, and boy did we have a terrific time!
Our ABC local affiliate came out to cover the event, where many of the participants were interviewed to help dispel the myth that we don’t engage with our waterways.
About half of us came the evening before, where AWE had set for us enough tents for everyone. Our group enjoyed happy hour, impromptu salsa lessons under the oak trees, and a delicious late evening dinner and campfire serenaded by Prince and Michael Jackson streaming tunes. Each person was asked to share one word to describe their intention for the event. Words like: memories, excitement, tradition, fun, thrills, and connection rang out from our group.
The next morning, the rest of the gang showed up in time for breakfast burritos, and a safety talk by the fabulous staff of AWE, where we learned how to be rescued in case we took a tumble from the boat, and other important behaviors to follow on the river:
Next, we were outfitted with helmets, personal floatation devices, and paddles. We then took a short hike to the flowing river for a leisurely class 1 and 2 float before lunch.
After a lunch of hearty sandwich wraps and sweets, we were ready for some more serious whitewater action, with class 3 and 4 waves waiting for us!
After 14 miles of fun thrills, along the austere beauty and wildlife habitat of the river, it was over too soon! A bus waited for us at the end of our river trail to take us back to camp where we sang and joked our way back to the campsite.
Before leaving camp some of us had a chance to sample some award winning BBQ ribs from woman owned High Sierra BBQ and Sausage Company – and WOW is all I can say! – thanks Jodi! (pictured below holding the sign)
As the sun began to set and the last of happy Outdoor Afros trailed out of the campsite headed back home, I was once again grateful to be a part of an effort to reconnect more people who look like me to a memorable experience in nature. Can’t wait to go back next year!