Northwest Community College Initiative students from Edmonds, Whatcom and Pierce Community Colleges NWCCI gathered on Friday, August 16th for the first all-consortium event – rafting on the Skagit River in the North Cascade mountain range in Washington state with Orion River Rafting. It was a great way to relax after a busy arrivals and orientation week and introduce the students to the outdoor activities offered by the Pacific Northwest. Here Amreen Mushtaq, a student from India studying at Edmonds, writes about outdoor adventure and facing challenges.
“There is no rushing a river. When you go there, you go at the pace of water and that pace ties you into a flow that is older than life on this planet. Acceptance of that pace, even for a day, changes us, reminds us of other rhythms beyond the sound of our own heart beats.” – Jeff Rennicke, River Days: Travels on Western Rivers.
I came across this quote few days back and I could relate to it because of the opportunity NWCCI gave us during our orientation week. I would like to thank NWCCI for giving a platform to every participant to experience something really fascinating and exciting. We went rafting on the Skagit, a river that flows through southwestern British Columbia in Canada and northwestern Washington in the United States, approximately 150 miles long. It was an experience of a lifetime. We left at around 9 am from Edmonds Community College where I’m currently studying and we were supposed to meet students from the other community colleges in our consortium. Everyone was so excited and we packed some snacks to munch on while travelling. We are 16 students at Edmonds Community College and we were accompanied by our associate director, Amanda, assistant coordinator, Charlotte, and our advisor Kim and we were packed into two vans. The way till our destination was so beautiful with picturesque scenery and amazing landscapes.
We reached our destination after two hours and it was really wonderful and exciting to me. I’ve done river rafting back in Kashmir, India, my home town but there were two persons who were paddling and we just enjoyed the ride. Here we had to do all the paddling and were on the river for three hours. Everyone was so thrilled and ready to go as they were putting on their wet suits and life jackets. After that we were given the safety instructions and what to do if you fall into the river while rafting. We all had a guide in the boat with us to guide us and to control the boat. I like to think that we got the coolest one, Kristin. She was wonderful and allowed us to play games on the boats and we made use of the opportunity to the fullest.
After being on river for two hours, we stopped with all of the other boats to take a break. In the meantime, the guides showed us this big stone by the river, and we could jump into the water. Everyone was looking forward to it. The guides showed us how to do it and it wasn’t a big deal if you didn’t know how to swim because the life jackets keep you afloat. The water was really cold and one by one people started to jump.
It was really tempting and I wanted to that too because I might never get another chance to do something like that in my life. But I was scared because I wear also wear a headscarf. There were three other girls who wore headscarves and were not ready to try it. So, I lost my motivation and decided not to do it but Charlotte told me that I could do it and some other guy who was on the same boat as me geared me up and I was all set. I went up that rock and looked down. I never felt something like that, it was a feeling I can’t explain and without thinking too much, I jumped into the water. When I went inside, my feet touched the ground and I was pushed up and while I was still in water, everything was so serene and silent. As Jeff Rennicke says it reminds us of other the sound of our own heart beats. It was so true. I came out and floated on the river for some time the boat of guides came to get me.
I was really proud of myself and it was worth it. We sailed further and finally reached the end point. Everyone was tired at the end of the day and started changing out of their wet suits. After everything was done, we got in the vans and came back. I still can’t stop thinking about that adventure and fun I had. And in my opinion, everyone can conquer their fears. You just need a little motivation, an urge to do something and the readiness to face risks and adversities.