On January 27, 2011 Eric Merkley was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. An aggressive cancer that we hope and the doctors to this point seem confident that is contained to one spot on his leg. Prognosis is good. Treatments and recovery will be long and painful.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Jackson Hole Adventure

Eric has been looking forward to our big family vacation before he leaves on his mission.  We went to Jackson Hole Wyoming for the week for a fun time on the snake river rafting and hiking in the Tetons.  It was an adventure.... here are a few pictures with the stories...

Todd left in the bigger - blue boat with the girls and "the boys" were in the paddle boat, Daryl, Eric, Clint (Tonya's Husband) and Brandon (Todd's son)  I was instructed to take the truck and trailer to boat pick up dock....I knew it would take about 1 1/2 hour so after I shuffled all the cars around I waited and waited and waited by the dock.  I have to admit that panic started to set in when I realized that it was now 2 1/2 hours and no sign of them...

When I saw the boys, I was so relieved, until I started to hear what happened....  Tears started to come to my eyes, I am not going to lie!  Apparently when the boys were rafting, they went through some rapids and the water pushed the boat up against a rock cliff.  Eric was catapulted through the air and into the water.  The raft was overturned with Clint caught up in the rope underneath the raft.  He did have a pocket of air until he was able to break free from the rope.  All 4 boys were accounted for and the other boat was breathing a little easier.  Until Eric came up missing.  Eric was caught into an Eddie and could not move.  He was submersed and fighting to break away and breathe again.  Clint looked around and could not see Eric and noticed the orange color under the water and swam over and pulled him up out of the Eddie.  Clint was Eric's guardian angel today.  They were pretty shaken, but had no choice but to get back on the boat and finish the ride.  Eric had a video going during this ride and I have included links at the bottom of this blog to view.  I figured he was submerged about 20 seconds and the water is a toasty 52 degrees.

This is Eric happy happy happy to be on solid ground again. (He is the one laying on the hot cement and Daryl is the one with the white t-shirt) (Clint is still working with the boat) Daryl did run up and gave Macklyn a big kiss.

The next day we decided to stay on solid ground, so we hiked around Jenny Lake in the Grand Teton National Park.  It was amazingly beautiful
Eric's New friend
In front of Hidden falls.
So after Todd took another trip down the snake Saturday afternoon, Eric wanted to ride the last rapid before his mission.  He helped with the vehicle transportation during the first trip down the Snake.  He is checking the Video camera and was ready to set off again.
I knew that everyone was safe and sound on Todd's boat, because he has ran this river many times and for many years.
This is the boat coming into the rapid called "Lunch Counter"  they were pretty excited for the adventure at this point.

The boat had taken on a lot of water at this point
They were almost out of the hole
This is where things started to go wrong
I was screaming at this point and in shock!  The boat flipped over on this huge rapid.  When I saw Todd sailing through the air, I knew they were in major trouble.

This is were I quit taking pictures and started yelling at Daryl to go help them.  He took off running.  The funny part is, there is absolutely nothing he could do to help.  But he took off running.
This is the boat in calmer waters for a few minutes
The the other rafters came to help.  Todd, Tonya and Nikki (Todd's Daughter) was able to climb on top of the overturned boat.  Eric and Clint were picked up by a fellow rafter.  They made it to shore, right after Todd, Tonya and Nikki had to ride the next set of rapids on top of the over turned boat, with nothing to hold on to... did I mention the water is 52 degrees?
This is fearless very wet and very cold rafters.  Eric decided to finish the ride in front.

After I hugged them all, I grounded Eric from any adventurous activities and told Todd he was sleeping in the truck tonight, I did calm down.... kind of!  Eric is still grounded from adventurous activities, and I did not make Todd sleep in the truck.  :)  We had a great trip and we did laugh a lot.  These stories will live in our family for many years to come.  I am sure it will even get better with time.  But Eric is still grounded.  :)

Click on these links below to view the video Eric took while he was going into the water on the Snake.
When you see Eric struggling under water, you will see Clint in the orange vest saving his life.
Eric and crew flips the boat on the Snake

Eric talks about the near death experience

video of Todd flipping the boat on the rapid called Lunch Counter

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