Nature's Roller Coasters
Eli, Age 12, Philadelphia, PA

ďDonít worry,Ē the tour guide said in a calm and sophisticated voice. ďIíve taken pregnant women through these rapids.Ē

ďDo they stay pregnant?Ē my dad called nervously. Unfortunately, the guide never heard him.

We were at a chasm, which is just a fancy word for canyon, with wet, midnight black walls, and a mediocre sized stream at the bottom. There were trees at the top of the steep cliffs, with luscious green leaves swinging in the breeze and whispering quietly. To be geographically exact, we were at Ausable Chasm, in the Adirondack Mountains, Upstate New York.

Vacations can take you many places, but this was perhaps the weirdest one. Not that I didnít like it, but it was just really out of the way. The population was scarce, and there were not any big towns.

But here there were about twenty other people, chatting aimlessly, just to pass the time. The miniature dock that we were standing on was also home to a plethora of life vests, one of them, neon orange, was strapped firmly to my chest. Just beneath the dock, a sun bright yellow inflatable boat, with many benches to sit on, was floating in the water. I hoped there werenít any sharp rocks or branches that could poke a hole in our dismal raft.

I scanned the dock for the person that would lead us into these rapids on that little boat. I was able to find him without much difficulty. He was young, about twenty-five, holding one oar as bright yellow as the boat itself, making preparations for the journey to come. I looked away, leisurely breathing in the fresh, cool air, a wonderful trait of the Adirondack Mountains. It seemed like a different universe compared to the hot, humid air of Philly.
I turned my attention to the other members of this daring expedition: my family. My little sister, Michelle, was plaguing my dad (no news there) that she didnít have any pockets in which to put her camera, and it would definitely get wet. My dad was calm, as he quietly suggested to her that he could put her camera in one of his pockets. Smirking quietly to myself, I tried to tune them out and look for the last member of this expedition, my mom. She was standing there quietly, smiling at the scene my dad and my little sister were making. It was the tour guide who broke up the scene by saying, ďAll right, itís time.Ē I began to feel imprisoned. There was no turning back now.

I got out of the raft all smiles. It was natureís best roller coaster, better than anything man could dream up. I could talk about how much my family bonded over this trip, how much fun we had, or how funny my parents were on the raft, but Iím not going to. I think this memory adds a little color, a little flourish, to my otherwise dull and dusty memories.

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