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Whitewater Rafting with SPLORE

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I went on a Whitewater rafting trip, in Colorado, at the end of the summer with a company called SPLORE. We rafted down the Colorado River, camping out along the way, and going through pretty heavy rapids in Utah. This was my third time going on these trips. I can't explain, exactly, how special they are to me. I think everyone should give this a try, and step out of their comfort zone. SPLORE2016 2

Three years ago, on Facebook, my aunt sent me a link by SPLORE with an advertisement for an FA trip. I would stay two nights in a hotel in Grand Junction, Colorado and raft all the way into Utah. I would be camping four nights along the way, and heading into Whitewater on the final day. This really looked like an amazing adventure. I was hooked because it's not every day that you see something specifically for people with FA. I had never camped before and did not consider myself an outdoor person. Sometimes in life, you just have to let go and be adventurous. I pretty much knew everyone would help take care me if I got attacked by a bear or something.

This year was special. One of the amazing things about this trip is the wonderful community of people that you meet. I have met some of the most awesome people, who I now consider my family. I knew everyone going on this trip beforehand, and many of the River guides at SPLORE. There are always new faces and experiences to gain from each trip. Each year I do these things, I take away something relevant. The main goal I wanted to learn from this trip was to improve my patience. I knew it was going to be difficult this year with my declining health, and lack of an experienced provider. I almost did not go and I was trying to back out of doing this right up until the night before in the hotel. I'm glad I toughed it out, and it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. In fact, I created so many lasting memories, and some of the people touched my heart.

SPLORE2016 4The beauty along the Colorado River is spectacular. I live in a big city, and really don't get out much. The outdoors bring so much enjoyment and nourishment to my life. Seeing the wildlife and the amazing shadows cast from the canyon walls were unforgettable. Waking up to the sound of a flock of birds flying over your head, and the soothing sound of the Colorado River combined for a soothing alarm clock. This year I got to go down one leg of our trip in an inflatable kayak, or ducky. Seeing the canyons and river from a different perspective was astonishing.

One of the most special things from the trip was seeing a group of strangers at the beginning, and going down the river after the rapids as a family. The last night we have Thanksgiving Dinner, and we all share the things we took away from the trip. Prior to getting all sappy, we were all wearing crazy outfits. For example, I wore a pretty snazzy dress this year. The next day is for serious business when we were about to embark on Westwater Canyon. SPLORE2016 5

Hitting Whitewater, and the fear of flipping over, gives you the illusion of independence. It's a pretty empowering feeling, and one I rarely get to experience now with FA. Being able to experience a feeling of danger is really exhilarating. SPLORE really knows what they are doing. This trip is magical. I want to make this a FARA event. More people with FA should go on this type of adventure. Let your fears go, and just do it. A special thanks to everyone at SPLORE for helping make the impossible, possible.

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