The Rivers Run In Me

Lisa Wilhellmi | American River - Northern California

A college buddy and I set out to raft along the American River back in 1990. My college friend, Ralph, is from New York. He had not much experience rafting or any other river adventures so this would be his first time.

We dropped our car off down the river and hoped on a bus that drove us up the river, informing us to be careful and giving us a mesh bag which we could store our wallets, keys etc. Soon we got our raft into the water and set out for our trip. The sun was warm and I was eager to jump in and swim along side the raft while Ralph was anxious being alone and not too sure how to use the oars.

I enjoyed taking turns swimming on my back and then holding on to the side of the raft. We laughed and had fun until I finished swimming on my back and went to stand upright when the tide took me for a wild ride. The under toe had taken me under and kept me there for what seemed like a long time because I remember telling myself not to panic and just breathe so I wouldn’t drown.

The rapids took us all on a trip which both Ralph and I will never forget. Luckily we made it out ok.

Later, I looked at the mesh bag they had given us and it had a map on it. Seems the area I had tried to stand up was called Suicide Bend. Oops.

The river was kind to me. Years earlier, a decade or so, my family was swimming with friends and one girl drowned. Her name was June Mosloski. I’ll never forget the look on her mothers face when we drove up in the pick up truck with all the kids in the back expect for her daughter.

I will always respect the river.

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