When I was nine-years-old, I watched my younger brother fall off his bike and smack his forehead on the pavement. It happened in slow motion, or so it seemed. Another summer, while coming over the crest of a hill on his bike, his brakes suddenly stopped working and I could only look on, for what felt like forever, as he dive-bombed into the tall grass at full speed.
It was in those slow motion moments, levitated between situation and outcome that defined our childhood.
In the years since, I have found many such moments: whenever I am trying something new, standing on the edge of a mountain, or, in the case of this past weekend, white water rafting.
We woke up in REO Rafting’s resort cabin tents with the sound of the rushing Nahatlatch River outside the door. “Glamping” proved to be the perfect solution for the last minute trip because we didn’t have to bring our own food or set up a tent, which left more time to enjoy the bonfire and hot tub. In the morning, while the cooks prepared our home-style buffet breakfast, including pancakes and bacon, we walked down to the water’s edge with a couple of Old Yale beers. I brought my personal favourite, Old Paddle Pilsner (I’m a sucker for a hoppy finish), while Matt chose the Knotty Blonde Ale, a clean and crisp beer with hints of grapefruit.
Old Yale inspires adventure, so it was the perfect beer to complement our weekend. The brewery is located in Chilliwack, and there is something both rustic and classy about the beer’s taste and branding, like they somehow managed to bottle the feeling of being outdoors.
Whether you are roughing it with friends around the campfire, glamping at REO Rafting Resort, or cooking recipes at home using their hand-crafted beer, the balance of natural ingredients are clearly inspired by the landscape that surrounds them. And after a couple of beers, you might say we felt at one with nature too, and finally ready for what came next.
I have learned that time is this rubbery thing, it can stretch out when you really need it to – like when you’re watching your brother catapult down a hill on his bike – and when everything is expected and calm, it keeps a regular pace.
Floating down the Thompson amidst desert canyon scenery in a raft quickly approaching Class 3-4 rapids (Class 5 is the highest) is something I won’t soon forget.
My body tumbled forward as a wave swept up under the raft, the cold river water lapping over my legs, and the guide yelling, “Hold on,” when we entered the Devil’s Kitchen – a long stretch of moody rapids. My hands stretched toward the rope on the side of the boat to anchor myself in place as the roar of the next wave came to the tip of the raft. Like a movie, I was suddenly moving in slow motion - if only in my mind – as a swell so big (quite literally called The Big Green Wave) scooped up the boat. What I remember is weightlessness, a moment of absolute calm and eerie mental acuity in mid-air. Then everyone in the boat was yelling out in excitement and feigned shock, “We’re alive.”
My favourite part was being allowed to jump out of the raft and be carried down the rapids while in the water.
At best, clocks offer a convenient anchor to the world, ensuring we don’t get swept away and lose all track of time. They offer reassurance that time is, as we expect, ticking steadily, predictably forward.
My experiences have shown that it is not always so tidy: time stretches and contracts if we let it. A lot can happen in a second and it’s relative to the experience.
Whether drinking Old Yale’s pilsner and listening to the rushing water or pummelling through rapids in a raft and laughing hysterically, when you revel in the moments when anything can happen, it seems time doesn’t exist at all.
REO Rafting and Old Yale Brewing organized and covered the costs of this trip. I wrote a positive review because I was satisfied with the experience and would highly recommend both Old Yale beer and whitewater rafting with Reo to anyone who asked. If I hated it, I would have written something completely different.