My wife has always been one of those people who has no problem staying at home all the time. Don´t get me wrong though, of course there´s nothing wrong with our home, I love it very much but I need to go outdoors and enjoy nature and doing an exciting activity. My wife, however, just isn´t much of an adventure seeker and is perfectly fine just doing her things in the house along with our third family member, Fillmore, our always faithful and hungry Labrador.
River rafting is my preferred way of taking a break from the pastry kitchen and get some thrills of outdoor adventure back into my life. As my wife´s birthday was coming soon, I devised a perfect plan for her birthday present (it’s all about her, of course): Whipping her up a cake from scratch was an automatic assumption, given my occupation, but I wanted to go even further this year and surprise her in a different way – I decided to show her the amazing world of river rafting and she was going to experience it first hand! You could say that I was poised to become a serious contender for a ‘Husband of the Year Award’.
So a few days later I bought the package and with a huge ear-to-ear grin, gave the envelope to my wife. She must have read it over three times and still couldn´t figure it out. I was busy gulping my wine, hoping for her to jump up in excitement any moment now, and hoping I had´t made another bad choice.
So after I explained she started with the regular onslaught of questions (because even if there aren´t any problems, she has a talent for making new ones up):
- Who´s going to take care of the dog? Fillmore is coming with us. Check!
- What about the house, we can´t just leave it alone? Avon River is only an hour away. Check!
- But it’s too expensive! First off, you can´t even see the price because it’s not shown on the tickets (thanks to my artful scratching out) and I got a great discount. Check!
At this point my smile was so wide I could hardly say a word, my plan was already going well. She wasn´t winning this one, and she finally gave the nod of approval.
And this is how my perfect birthday rafting adventure went…
Avon River, Perth, Australia
As an avid river rafting enthusiast, I chose Avon River which is just about an hour drive from Perth. If I was going to convince my wife of leaving the house for this, it better be close by. This location offers rafters the chance to raft the same waters alongside some of the best paddlers in the country. I mean sure, some will say that because the best paddlers in the country are attracted to going there, gee, sounds a little difficult for a beginner, much less some who likes to be at home. Bah, naysayers! Besides, those are minor details, this was going to be a historic moment and the place is just pure beauty all around! Even Fillmore was going to have the time of his life!
Finally, Getting ready to Raft
When we got there, we went through all the arrangements and preparations and got our personal protective gear. And ‘oh my gosh’, my wife looked unrecognizable in her wetsuit and gear. I wish I had my camera with me. I started explaining how we would be paddling using a two-man croc. “Oh come on honey, this is made ESPECIALLY for couples, and it’s safe, so quit worrying.”
We finally met up with some of the other couples we knew (friends who were also rafters who agreed to make this day happen for us). Seeing the other people really helped calm her down, and plus, there were some women in the group who were already assigned dog-sitting roles for Fillmore while we were going to be rafting.
On the River
Although I was a fair seasoned veteran, I knew she wouldn’t get on a raft without the guidance of a certified instructor. Once in the raft, she actually felt a little better about the gear she was wearing. If she had a notepad, I am sure she´d be taking notes about the comprehensive safety and paddle briefing the instructor gave us and she´d take it in the water with her. Cute.
Our trip would begin in Walyunga National Park and end up in Bell´s Rapid. I could already tell by the look on my wife’s face that she was thoroughly impressed by the pristine water and gorgeous Jarrah forests. And she’s right, it is always breathtaking no matter how many times I come back.
The Awesome Experience
The rafting session lasted 4 hours, and although it was scary at times, she always came out of each problem situation with a hysterical loud laugh. I was sure some of the crew talking pictures of the group got some great shots of her. The trip was great, and seeing how my wife handled scary situations here and there, of which had had no control of was simply refreshing to see.
By the time the session concluded, we were all tired – especially me. I was worried about my wife the whole trip and whether or not she would like it. We were initially concerned about taking our city car over such rugged terrain, but luckily, tensions were at perfect ease as a result of our renting of a 4×4 WD vehicle instead. Eventually, it was that smart choices like that, which made the entire experience a great one. Next time, I’m positive that we’ll both enjoy it even more, now that I know she actually has quite an adventurous side to her after all.
Written by: Don Broida