What is the scariest experience you've had with Mother Nature?
Submitted by jacolily.
That would have to be the time I went canoeing on the Buffalo River in Tennessee with the Outing Society which I belonged to in college (Spring of 1979). I can't remember if it rained while we camped overnight, or if it had been raining a lot before our trip, but on the 2nd day of paddling on the river, all of a sudden we came upon a very very fast and high section of water, and a tree was down over the river, and somehow most of us capsized. A couple of us landed on the far shore, and had to find a way back across, which eventually involved jumping in and swimming for our lives across the raging current. It was quite frightening at the time.
We did get all the canoes back on to shore (I think they got caught on some branches and so on, and some of the guys were able to rescue them), and most of the gear was salvaged from the river where it got shallower, but I never did recover the sleeping bag I had recently sewn myself from a Frostline kit (remember them?). [Frankly, I can't remember what I slept in the rest of the trip – I think someone must've loaned me their bag and one of the couples shared.]
That was it for the canoeing portion of our Spring Break then – after we were all safely on shore, we built a fire and dried out some, then hiked to where we saw a barn, and most of us stayed there while some of the others hiked out for help and transportation. (Remember this was long before cell phones.) For the rest of the week we drove to the mountains and just camped by a pretty little lake, so it still turned out to be a fun trip – but could've very easily been disastrous. I know now that we were attempting to do something beyond our skill level, never a good idea; really dumb, in fact. As the old commercial says, "Don't fool with Mother Nature!"