You expect adventure on a rafting trip during the day, but not at night. We had both. The Trisuli River in Nepal is wild and wide – by day it tries to toss you out of the rafts and by night it sneaks up on you to wash you down river out of your tent.
And that’s just what happened. We were camped on the riverbank above Windy Canyon and we were woken about 1am by the sound of people shouting and running around.
At first we thought it was the Nepalese river guides enjoying a ‘ruske’ party, as they were singing, dancing and drinking the alcoholic ruske when we went to bed.
But no! I poked my head out of our tent and saw a row of tents in front of us had already been swamped with water.
The river was rising … towards us!
The guides had been sitting around the fire watching the river when they noticed it starting to rise. The staff tent went first, and then the toilet tent got washed away.
They started yelling to hurry as the river was rising fast. People were grabbing sleeping bags, mats, wet clothes and packs in their arms and running and dumping them on high ground.
Confused messages in our tour group
On our tour group, Margaret and her husband, Graham, heard the guides, but thought they were getting breakfast, and did not realise it was only 1am. He thought it strange when one of the guides said, “I’m just warning you, there has been a lot of rain in the mountains”. When they returned to their tent after a trip to the toilet it had 12mm of water in it. He suddenly realised the significance of the message.
Sue woke hearing someone running around the tent saying “Excuse me, excuse me, who is sleeping in this tent? She replied, “I am”, then the guide said, “We must move the tents, the water is rising too fast”. As she stumbled groggily out two guides pulled out the pegs and moved the whole tent with everything in it onto the high bank.
They moved one row of tents twice, first below the bank, then right up the bank.
Tricia woke with a torch in her face. She began to pack her things slowly, but moved faster when something she picked up was wet.
Dave almost had a wet awakening. He was sleeping with his head outside his tent to avoid the smell of John’s feet. They had gone to bed late after drinking a lot of rukse and were sleeping soundly. The commotion woke him when the water was only about 30cm from his head.
I finally got back to sleep after all the chaos and confusion and dreamt of tidal waves washing the tent away with me in it.
Realisation sets in
Next morning, feeling shell-shocked, we realised we might have all been washed down river in our tents and drowned if not for the guides’ late night ruske party!
It sure was an ‘Adventure Holiday’ I won’t forget. The guides assured us this was a very unusual event and I’m just glad I am around to remember it.
Roz Glazebrook has had many adventures in the great outdoors but since stopping work and study has started to get back into bushwalking and kayaking.
She lives in Brisbane and enjoys freelance writing and getting out in the bush.
Roz has a Doctor of Public Health degree and nursing qualifications.