River rafting in Estacada


The last three weeks have been torture for me trying to get back on my feet. I am slowly moving again and creating a structure for my life. My friends, family, school advisers and work teammates are supporting me though out this tough time. Last weekend, I made no plans nor did I want to do anything.

However, a friend encouraged me to go with him on a trip. He assured me that this trip would put things into perspective and bring me back to reality. There was nothing to lose, so I took his offer. So we started packing what appeared to be camping gear and had one more thing to obtain: dry suits.

I was not aware that the Outdoor program at PSU rented out gear. Being a student, I was able to get two dry suits for $50, a bargain when they are worth up to $300 a piece. Early the next day, we were off to Estacada in gloomy and rainy weather.  We arrived to a scene of people, kayaks, rafts, dry suits, wet suits and gear along the river.

We immediately parked on the side of the road, dressed down to a T-shirt and shorts, put on our dry suits, helmet, and life vests and we were off to find his friends. Upon finding them, without hesitation we got a raft, carried down to the river, and got in to raft downstream.

My heart pumped and my senses were on full alert. All I could think of was not to fall out of the raft into the river. The water was freezing hence the dry suits we had to keep us not only warm but alive. The rapids were strong and I tried to literally bury my feet into the wedges of the raft and held on to my paddle for life.

Downstream, we hit stronger rapids, being pushed from side to side, the water pouring down on us, as we tried to maneuver through without falling out or flipping over. Everyone around me was unnerved.  I was hoping I would not fall out. After what seemed an eternity of freezing water and near heart attacks, we rafted and finished in calm and safe waters. This trip was much needed for me even if it distracted me from the world of depression that I was in and still am in.

Have a Merry Oregonian Christmas

For all of those students staying in the NW over break like myself, you may be wondering what you can do over winter break. We may not have the Rockefeller tree or the Times Square Ball in Portland, but there are many fun local things to do over the holidays. Here is my list of what to hit up during your month-long break:

Peacock Lane Lights – A fun walk/drive with friends and family while enjoying the beautiful festive lights. (December 15-31st)

ZooLights – Take the Zoo Railway and enjoy the lights used to transform the zoo into a Lite-Brite winter wonderland along with hot chocolate and live music.

The Polar Express (Oregon) –If you’re a fan of the movie you’ll be delighted to know that the Mt.Hood Railroad is home to the Oregonian Polar Express. Sing along to Christmas Carols, enjoy tasty treats, and meet Santa on your way to the North Pole—a.k.a Mt.Hood.

The Grotto Christmas Festival of Lights – You can now enjoy the very illuminated Grotto until December 30th. It is a family event filled with lights, carolers, and choir performances.

For those movie lovers, there are several holiday-themed films out. Arthur Christmas is an entertaining family movie that will bring out the 5 year old in you with its Christmas spirit. The film New Year’s Eve, which seems to have cast every Hollywood actor, had a fun storyline that connected all the characters in cheesy yet touching ending. However, if you’re not down to go anywhere, you can always stay home and watch holiday films on TV, eat sugar cookies, and sip on some eggnog… no judgment.