Outdoorsy I’m Not: Whitewater Rafting in Big Sky, Montana

High fiving rafter style.

I am not one of those people to whom the word “outdoorsy” is often applied.  Ok.  I’m not one of those people to whom the word outdoorsy is ever applied.  To me, the great outdoors means a large patch of grass in the shadow of a whole lot of skyscrapers.

I am not one of those people to whom the word casual applies.  I only wear sneakers to go to the gym.  I do not own a pair of sweatpants. Try to get me to wear a t-shirt that says something – anything – on it, and you will live to regret it.  I am NOT with Stupid; my name is not Abercrombie and anything, and my parents paid good money for orthodontia so I wouldn’t have a Gap.

So this week, in Big Sky, Montana, I’ve been waiting for the alarms to sound every time I do something outdoorsy.  I imagine it being like what happens when someone is contaminated at a nuclear facility:  as I enter the whitewater rafting outfitters, an alarm shrieks, and a big flashing sign appears “Not Outdoorsy!  Not Outdoorsy!”

But that didn’t happen.  Instead I surprised myself by just how outdoorsy I could be.

Day One in Big Sky Montana: Whitewater Rafting

whitewater rafting in Montana

I’m actually smiling. I know. Shocking.

Geyser Whitewater Rafting took us out on a two hour ride, which was preceded by a warning lecture that ended with “This isn’t Disney World.  There is no track under there.  There is real danger of accidents, or even death.”  My daughter, ever the optimist chimed in “There’s always the possibility of death.”  Only 12, and already a nihilist.

(To read more about the terrors of Whitewater Rafting on the Gallatin river from my fellow not-outdoorsy blogger and friend, check out her post on Motherhood in NYC.  Truly one of the funniest things I have ever read.  Go ahead, click on over.  I’ll wait.)

Our guide , Barrett, was, as are seemingly all employees of every establishment here in Big Sky, preternaturally friendly, enthusiastic, and helpful.  And the trip was fun.  Splashes, rocks, a fair amount of getting stuck.  We were told when to paddle forward, when to paddle back.  When to just do nothing.  It was Whitewater rafting, I guess.

Compared to my terror stricken friend,  I was a daredevil.  I was actually a bit disappointed that the rapids weren’t, well, rapid-er.  Although looking at the pictures, I guess it was kind of wild. As a matter of fact, it looks absolutely terrifying!  What the hell was I thinking?

If they give you a helmet you know it can’t be good.

If the safety talk includes the word “death” you must be in trouble.

Who was I kidding?  And yet I lived to tell the tale.

And not a single flashing sign exposing me for the city girl I am.


  1. says

    A trip to Big Sky is on my Life List. I think this looks great and I’m proud of you for living to tell the tale. (P.S. the insurance companies are the ones who insist on all that “death” talk. It is a bit sobering.)

  2. says

    I have such a love-hate relationship with that kind of thing. If I’m going to do it (camping, hiking, rafting, whatever) I tend to jump in 100% and have a great time. But if given the choice, I’d rather be at a spa. 🙂

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