Saturday, May 28, 2011

I almost died today.

It's true. Drowned/frozen to death. Those two things combined.

Here's how it happened.

Me and Pappy decided to go kayaking at ten o'clock this morning. We loaded the boats up; fine. No boats fell on my head or anything. I was okay.
We drove down towards the lake put pulled off at the river about a half mile upstream from where the river empties into Utah Lake. Still fine.
We got in the kayaks and started kayaking up the river. It was a) really high, b) really fast, c) absolutely freezing (I didn't know this yet, but I assumed).
As we paddled up the river, we noticed how strong the current was.. I didn't really care, it was just a little more difficult to paddle. So as I'm paddling up the river, I move up in front of a fallen tree trunk sticking sideways from the shore and I rest my hand against it. SO my boat is horizontal with the tree trunk and I am holding onto it to get catch a quick breather. I tried to scan a picture I drew of my position so you could see exactly what the situation looked like, but my stupid scanner on my computer would only take half the printer. Technology sucks.

Anyway, no danger there, right?

Basically the current was too fast for me to just to sit and take a rest, (I later realized the river was probably just telling me, "Resting on MY current?! We'll see about that, you lazy prick! Heh!") and so, because my boat was horizontal with the river, it began getting slowly swept underneath the branch as my body pressed up against it in the same place. I think you get the idea. I turned sideways and bailed into the forty-something degree water.

Nope. It didn't feel that cold when I hit the water. But when I surfaced in the fast current and swam towards Matthew, I realized my limbs were almost completely useless. I was flopping around in the water and I couldn't really pull myself together. I held onto my boat and tried only to say three words to my father: "It's really cold." I couldn't. I, in all honesty, have never felt more handicapped in my entire life. I was just shouting jibberish, I couldn't finish that worthless sentence and I wasn't even close to being able to get a decent breath. My chest felt like it had caved in. After my dad realized that I couldn't really function, he said, really intensely, "You need to swim. You need to swim to shore NOW." I think we both realized if I didn't get to the shore fast, I would get hypothermia really quickly and probably die. It was a wee bit frightening.

So I used all of my strength, pulled myself together and swam towards the shore, even though I was still being swept downstream because of the ridiculous speed of the current. Finally, I reached the shore and I hauled my exhausted body onto the paved pathway that snakes along the riverbank, but not before I sliced my elbow open on a chunk of concrete in the water by the shore. But it's okay because I didn't feel a thing. My entire body was basically numb.
And then after that, I just laid down on that path and breathed for probably 5 straight minutes. And after 5 minutes I laughed and realized how stupid I was for turning sideways in a river like that.

Now realize, all of this happened in less than a minute. Of course it felt a lot longer, especially thinking about it now.

I have four things to be grateful for, for keeping me alive:
1. Swimming lessons when I was young. At least I knew how to do a breaststroke or whatever that simple swimming move is called.
2. A lifejacket. I would be dead if I didn't have one. Slain.
3. God. I mean, come on.
4. Adrenaline. It's the greatest thing I have in my body.

So someone bring me brownies and love tomorrow because I almost died today. Oh and I'm leaving tomorrow for the ranch to do hard labor.


  1. Thank God you didn't die!!
    I'll miss you, Niels... very very very much. And now, I wish you
    : ) Good luck and good health!