We started to spread out across the river and move against the current. We laid on our stomachs and used our arms to grab rocks and pull ourselves forward. It took some time to get used to the feeling of a wetsuit and breathing out of my mouth but, when I did I saw red lined darters, green sided darters, and Tennessee shiners. Even in spots where there weren't a lot of fish it was still really interesting to look underwater and observe their habitat. When we all started to get cold again we got out and ate lunch. We had chicken salad sandwiches, bananas, graham crackers, and cookies. We sat on the concrete in the sun to stay warm. When we were done with lunch we got right back into our nature adventure. I found a sculpin camouflaged on a rock which was one of my favorite parts of the trip and made me look very carefully at where I place my hands. After a few minutes of exploring the shallow areas we decided to let the current carry us in the opposite direction into much deeper water. We let go of the rocks and coast downstream floating with our heads underwater. When we got to the pools that were probably around 6 feet deep we saw big sticks underwater making an interesting home for bigger fish. We saw a large fish that we thought was a trout as well as other fish that were different in size and shape than the little ones further upstream. Larkin, a rising junior said she saw a creepy mask under water too! After passing the pools we stopped at a large rock formation that was sticking out of the water to wait for everyone and find a way to get back upstream closer to our things. I was keeping myself from drifting away by holding myself with one small rock. So, when everyone started to gather up and space became invaluable we were trying to squeeze three people onto this one little rock. The water level and current speed had rapidly increased from the time we began. The guides told us that one of the dam turbines had started up which is why the water was moving so rapidly. Before we started they told us that the dam isn’t usually turned on until 2pm and if it starts beforehand we’ll have to get out. I missed most of the directions in an effort to keep Annie from drifting away. All I caught was, “We’re going to swim as fast as we can across the river. Because the current is so strong we won’t end up directly across but instead in that direction.” she pointed to a spot along the bank that was further downstream. Everyone’s adrenaline started kicking in and you could almost hear hearts beating out of chests. Everyone was terrified yet excited. Before we knew it we were swimming as fast as we could to the other side while the water swept us downstream. When we got to the bank we were breathing heavily and wide eyed surprised that we made it! Then we saw Annie still in the water! She was quickly drifting downstream and we could barely see her. Luckily she got to the bank but she was way behind us. We hiked along the bank until it curved into an island. So, we trekked across the island then across channel of water
that came after it. Then we were back at our starting point!
We changed into dry clothes and sunbathed in the parking lot while rehashing how we were scared for our lives when we had to swim across the river. We researched some of the fish we saw in a big book that Mrs.Couch brought. It was an amazing experience and definitely my favorite day of our Tucker River Fellows week!