Born and raised in Milwaukee, I feel like I’ve experienced it all. The state capitol in Madison in the fall, seeing the Green Bay Packers at training camp, getting sunburned at Noah’s Ark in Wisconsin Dells and enjoying some wine during my honeymoon in Door County.
My brother in-law told us about it and I thought he was crazy to think I’d go whitewater rafting (I have been known to be a scaredy cat at times). Let me tell you, this trip gave me enough memories to last a lifetime.
The first year we went (we’ve been back quite a few times since then) we camped with friends and decided to take on the mighty “Piers Gorge” section of the Menominee River.
Everyone meets at the check-in spot an hour before the scheduled trip to register and to get into your gear (they provide wetsuits, helmets, life jackets, booties and paddles). Then we hop on a school bus to get to the water.
Imagine being in a huge raft with friends in a clear, clean river that allows you to hold onto the side of the raft while you let the warm flow of the water take you down the Menominee. I remember telling my best friend Andrea I was experiencing “heaven on earth.” It was so peaceful and soothing. I didn’t have a care in the world while I drifted in the water and felt one with nature.
About 20 minutes later, our instructors told us to jump back in our rafts, grab our paddles and get ready for the rapids. I’ve never laughed so hard when our group immediately got stuck on a rock. With a Marine and a few firefighters on our team, we thought we would own these rapids. Not so much… We were stuck and had to push our way back into the current. We quickly caught up with the other rafts and started on our rafting adventure. The guides were extremely entertaining, knowledgeable and patient. Even a novice rafter, like me, could get the hang of rafting the Menominee in no time.
We returned to our campsite that night for dinner, a campfire and to sleep. The next morning we were ready to jump in their “funyaks” and take on the Peshtigo River. Funyaks are one-person inflatable rafts that are easier to maneuver than large rafts. I highly recommend checking water levels before you go. Low water means more rocks. We only got stuck a few times, but that’s what funyaking is all about “letting the water guide you” as said by our instructor, Chad.
I have a blast every time we go to Kosir’s and I even learned something during that first trip. In life you hit some rocks and sometimes life is smooth, but if you stay positive and work hard you can make it through anything.
Elizabeth Kay is the co-host of The Morning Mix on 99.1 FM.