Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run that outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. –Helen Keller
If you have never been whitewater rafting, than you have one more thing you should add to your bucket list. But rafting through whitewater has not always been done solely for enjoyment; it used to be done because it had to be. Either for the purpose of exploration or transportation, and if you can imagine, rafting uncharted waters for the first time was extremely dangerous. As such, what we are able to do now for the sake of fun and adventure is owed solely to the forefathers of rafting.
Native Americans who used American waterways to travel long distances for hunting purposes, Egyptians who used their rivers for transporting merchants wares, Southeast Asians who still use their water ways as a means to sell their farm foods and fish on their floating markets. Even Vikings who used rivers to sail further inland in order to attack and pillage, rafting has been an integral part of human history, whether good or bad. But it’s only been recently that rafting has been used for pure enjoyment and excitement.
Lazy River Rafting
Not all river rafting has to be exciting or dangerous. There is no doubt, if you haven’t done it or seen it yourself, that you can easily spend a nice afternoon tuning down a slow meandering river. There can even be bits of excitement along the way, but overall, there is no real inherent danger. This makes for a nice summer time outing, but not everyone like to take it easy. Some, and granted the numbers are much fewer, love to tempt fate and taunt even death himself. These character types take whitewater rafting to the next level.
Rafting The Most Dangerous Rivers In The World
For those that want to take it to the next level, they frequently look to rivers where most other people would avoid setting a single foot in. There are numerous rivers that can be deemed dangerous, but there are five rivers that even the most experienced rafters would think about attempting.
The first being the Amazon River which, due to its vast dimensions, is often referred to as the River Sea. Between the volume of water, the creatures that live within it, and the large tidal waves that can occur, countless people have attempted to navigate it courses and have failed, paying so with their lives.
The second river would have to be the Congo River; it is Africa’s most powerful river and stretches nearly 3000 miles. There is a section of the river that is so dangerous; it is called the Gates of Hell, which is a 75 mile long canyon of extremely dangerous rapids and obstacles. There are over 30 cataracts which are known to have more power than all the rivers and falls in the United States combined.
The third most dangerous river is often considered the Orinoco River, which is found in South America and stretches over 1300 miles. There are over 200 other rivers that eventually meet up with Orinoco and all eventually empty into the Atlantic Ocean. Navigation through this river is so difficult that some deem it as impossible, and as you can imagine, as people attempt it, they soon find out that statement to be true.
The fourth river resides in China, and is the longest river throughout China. It is nearly 4,000 miles in length and is riddled with whirlpools, fast moving and turbulent water. The river is so powerful, that on numerous occasion dams have attempted to be constructed, but to no avail as the height of its flood waters can never be anticipated.
Finally there is the Brahmaputra river, which is Tibet’s largest and most dangerous river. Stretching over 1800 miles, it received most of its water from mountain snow runoff. So once spring hits and the snow finally melt from the Himalayas, the river literally swells and rages. Making it a prime spot for adventure seeking whitewater rafters.
How Did It Evolve As Such
There is only one reason something that first developed out of necessity would then evolve into something of pure enjoyment and thrill. That reason being our inherent spirit of adventure. People naturally are willing to go into places unknown, challenge what they view as misconceptions and falsities, and even tempt death itself solely with the purpose to prove otherwise and to experience and know for themselves what is possible and what is not.
If it wasn’t for this spirit of adventure, Columbus wouldn’t have found the new world, Armstrong wouldn’t have stepped foot on the moon, even Felix Baumgartner wouldn’t have attempted to break the sound barrier with his body alone. People go proximity squirrel suit diving, deep water diving, and countless other extremely dangerous feats. These are all accomplished, for the most part, driven by our inherent spirit of adventure. Without it, we probably wouldn’t even consider rafting at all. So for that, we should feel thankful.
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The author of this article is Damien S. Wilhelmi. If you enjoyed this piece you can follow me on Twitter @CoSportsZealot. If you care to satisfy your urge to fulfill a sense of adventure missing in your life, perhaps a little Arizona River Rafting would do the trick. Be sure to check out InARAft.com to see what guided tours are available.