Kate Snow's Big Adventure
BEND, Ore., Aug. 19, 2006 — -- It's when I can no longer feel my ankles that I start to wonder: Was this really the smartest idea?
I'm in a little rubber raft with four teenagers, a camp counselor and a river guide. We're going at a pretty steady clip down the bone-chilling cold MacKenzie River near Bend. The water, they tell me, is 48 degrees. It's snow melt straight from the high peaks of eastern Oregon. I'm screaming every time a wall of water comes my way, which is about once every minute.
I have no one to blame but myself. When our producers said they wanted each anchor on "Good Morning America's Weekend Edition" to go off to summer camp for a couple of days, I had a choice of camps. I chose adventure camp. I chose Oregon. I chose a day of whitewater rafting and a day of rock climbing.
A little known fact about me -- I love the outdoors. When I'm not working, I love to camp and go backpacking and hiking. No shower for days? No problem. Love it.
It doesn't take long to build camaraderie in our boat. Within minutes, we're making up a typically teenage cheer: "Whitewater Wafting Warriors!" we scream, paddles hoisted into a high-five, before slapping the paddles on the water.
We even start singing, badly. Our favorites are "I Feel Good," "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly" and, of course, "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey (Come on don't pretend you don't know all the words).
There are 22 teenagers on this 20-day adventure. All are 15 or 16 years old. They come from all over -- 12 states and three foreign countries. Some found the "Adventure Treks" program online. Many say their parents found it for them.
I'm old enough to be their mother, but I find myself acting like a teenager again. My fellow campers convince me to take a plunge in the frigid water.
"This is crazy," I protest, but then I jump right in.
It's such a jolt to the system, my lips are blue for the rest of the day. Crammed into a van full of kids for the ride home, there's dance music blasting on the stereo and I'm bobbing my head along with everyone else.
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