Rafting in the Summer! Written and photographed by Alfonso Delgado
It was a very sunny day when we ventured out of Seoul, onto the sleepy county of Cheorwon, where the Hantan River, in Gangwon Province, meanders from its source in North Korea. (Yes! From North Korea, where only they know what -or who- they threw into the river! Hahaha!) Hantan River, an average-sized river with cool but murky brown waters wide enough to accommodate several rafts and its boisterous passengers.
But it's not the rafting as serious as what Meryl Streep did in 'River Wild', where she conquered the 'Gauntlet', the rapids where three rivers converged turning the pool into a deadly whirl pool much like a giant washing machine minus your dirty laundry. Well, if you remember this movie -- we did nothing like that. Hahaha! Those types of rivers are for Olympians. We were just city slickers trying to have fun in the Korean countryside.
Before we got into our raft, our Korean guide/instructor enumerated the do's and dont's of rafting, which we all tried to remember, even if we couldn't understand Korean: (1) Row in unison with everybody. If you don't, you will be thrown overboard; (2) Be nice to everybody. If you are not, you will also be thrown overboard; and (3) If you fall off the raft, just stay calm and somebody will fish you out somewhere in the Yellow Sea. That is, if somebody remembers to. Hahaha!
With an oar in hand, life vest on, legs strapped and a camera around my neck, off I joined Wei-nee, Delphine, Zach and some other friends to cruise the Hantan River, splashing the other rafters with our oars, pulling out a couple of guys from a capsized raft and enjoying the view, the coolness of the water, while giving our arms a much needed workout with rowing.
No wonder Meryl Streep was able to navigate the Gauntlet even with a gun pointed at her. Rafting is such fun especially with these rapids, tumbling along the river and even causing a few to capsize!
Thanks to the Dicapac waterproof case. I was able to take lots of photos and a video! I will definitely bring it again next time!