This blog is simply the story about my little life
with my sweet family that the Lord has blessed me with
and the day in, day out things that we do.
It basically is my online diary/photo album of our life.
I'm glad you're here!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Umpqua Camping Trip Part III

This picture was taken moments before the accident

Okay, so we arrived on the river yesterday about 5:00pm and arrived at our camp site a few hours later. We unpacked, set up our tents, had dinner, had a great night's sleep, woke up to a gorgeous sunny day and a beautiful blue sky, had a great breakfast, packed all of our stuff in the boats and got back on the water. Most of our friends were already on the water ahead of us. In our own little group it was Eric and I in one boat, Mackenzie, Brittany and Cameron in the second boat and Hayden, Dustin and Blondie in the rear in this boat. I snapped this picture as we floated on down the river ahead of the kids.
As I said yesterday, I was just sitting in the boat, relaxing in the sun as we were floating down the river and actually starting to paint my fingernails when all of the sudden I started hearing my kids screaming and then I heard Eric say, "oh no!" (which I rarely hear him say) and as I turned to look, I saw Mackenzie and Brittany standing up and waving their arms and screaming that the younger boys boat had flipped over. For about 20 long, grueling seconds I did not know if Hayden and Dustin were okay or not. This was probably the darkest and scariest moment of my entire life. I screamed "Are the boys ok? Are the boys ok?" they didn't hear me at first and did not answer. I screamed it again, "Are the boys ok?" and finally I heard them yell back yes. My whole body instantly started to shake uncontrollably. I was so thankful to God, but I was so scared!
I looked to the water and saw all of their backpacks, camp boxes and coolers floating down the river next to us. It was such a creepy feeling. It was so quiet and I just saw these large items bobbing up and down and floating down the river. Eric had the sound mind to tell me to start grabbing things. I reached over and tried to pull in a backpack, but it was so water logged and so very, very heavy. I finally got it up into the boat as Eric was busily trying to start his motor to get us back up stream. I reached in the water again and my legs were like Jello and my arms were visibly shaking so bad. I was sooooo scared and worked up. I just started praying to Jesus.
We finally got to the spot and anchored up the boat. We ran to where the kids were and hugged everyone. At that moment we asked where the boat was and the kids pointed to the water. When it flipped upside down the boys and Blondie jumped out (Praise God!) and the boat tipped over and sunk to the bottom. The current took it a down river several feet and until it was wedged here at this spot in some rocks about ten feet under the water.
I thought we would call it a loss and leave it there, but my husband thought we needed to try our best to get it out of the water and try to salvage it.
Mackenzie had gotten sick in the night, Grayson had floated on down ahead of us and was not around to help and Hayden was so shook up from the accident and also was still recovering from his food poisoning, so our son, Cameron really emerged as the hero. He volunteered to swim under the water down to the boat to assess the situation. When he swam down he saw the bow line and grabbed it! We were all so excited and had all the men that were around grab hold and pull on it.
Unfortunately the rope broke from all the tension. For a moment, we were so excited and then "snap" the rope broke and we were all so bummed out by this.
The men all worked together so well and all of them came up with good ideas. One idea was to dislodge the boat from the rocks by having the men take turns swimming down and try to kick the boat out of the spot it was wedged into. They did this for awhile and got it to move a few feet, but not much.
Hayden and Dustin were sitting on this rock watching all of the men try and get the boat back. I think they were in shock. They went through quite an ordeal.
The next step was Cameron went back under and this time he got the anchor rope. This was a big turn of events for the boat recovery! Once they got hold of that rope, they tied on another rope and all the guys started pulling!
They were able to pull it up closer to shore.
They all worked and worked and pulled and pulled.
It was exhausting work.
You don't realize how strong that current is until you are working against it!
It's getting closer!
Finally, part of the boat has actually surfaced!
I love this picture of Cameron.
I like this one too!
This whole process took more than an hour. The guys were getting tired. It was also very dangerous. We were so worried and concerned that someone could somehow get hooked in the ropes and get pulled under.
Brittany and I prayed together and continued to pray throughout the whole ordeal.
I was so worried and stressed all through this process. I was also very, very thankful to God for watching over my kids. Seeing how that boat was stuck down there and how strong the current was, I couldn't help but think how easily it could have been for one of the boys or even the dog to be caught up in the ropes and been caught down there with the boat. Another element to this story is that we were in the middle of nowhere. It would have taken hours for help to come. But we had something better, we had the help of the Lord! Thank you God in heaven so much for protecting the boys!
Thank you for protecting all these nice men who came to help us. Thank you, thank you God! Thank you for helping us recover our boat from these dangerous waters!
Finally, they almost have it up.
At this moment, when I saw my husband smiling and heard him crack a joke, I knew it was all going to be okay.
Once they got it up to shore, they inspected it and it looks like it's still floatable!
It was so funny because there was a little fish swimming around in it!
Oh, what a relief it is to have it back up!
Once the guys got it up they had to dump out all the water.
They all got on one side and tipped it to the other side.
I don't have any pictures of it, but it worked perfectly and they got all the water out. After that, we tested it and it floated!

The combination of the current and the rocks was so strong that it actually pulled this side rail away from the boat!
It also dented in the side. But at least there were no holes in the bottom and water did not leak in.
We loaded most of the stuff in the boat that Eric and I were in. This is what I stared at the whole way to the next site: waterlogged backpacks that we retrieved from the river. It was a sad reminder of what had just happened.
Needless to say, the float to the next campsite was quite somber. This time we all stayed very close together. Eric tied the boats together as we floated the next section of river trying to get to our next destination to spend the night.

At this point I was a little freaked out and really worried about rocks, rapids, waves, etc. I was very nervous and kept praying. I was soooo thankful that God was watching out for us. God protected the boys, I KNOW that! This story could have so easily had a different and devastating ending, but it didn't! The boys were not hurt at all and we even recovered the boat and most of our possessions! We only lost a handful of items like lawn chairs and flip flops. God was merciful to us. God was protecting us. Thank you God for your protective hand!

"Though I walk in the midst of trouble, Thou wilt revive me: Thou shalt stretch forth Thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and Thy right hand shall save me." Psalm 138:7

"Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed by." Psalm 57:1

"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." John 14:27

In Him, Sharon

1 comment:

Mardell said...

Oh Thank God everyone is ok!! I am trying to catch up w/your camping trip, and I'm going backwards...oh how scary this must have been. No wonder the rapids make you nervous, Sharon. WOW. It looks like the water was pretty shallow? If so, that was a good thing! Again, so thankful that no one was hurt.

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