I meant to write this weeks ago, nearer to the event itself, but alas... i'm lazy.
Now that i have three other events that i'd like to write about, i've found the motivation to write about this one. I was pretty good about posting pictures of RiverProm, but didn't really get to explain the weekend in its entirety. Now that a few weeks have gone by, i suppose i'll be forgetting some of the details, but that'll likely make this description more tolerable (i.e. mercifully truncated).
A bit of history
I'm not sure how many years old this event is, as this was my first, but it seemed like this has been going on for a while. It originally started as a way to spruce up the run-of-the-mill drifting down the Truckee river with something other than alcohol, the traditional supplement. Someone hit on the idea of having a formal on the river. I'm not sure why this makes it more fun, but it really does.
Camping and Company
I haven't camped in a while, and even though this wasn't backpacking, the car camping was still nice. I also camped with my dates (D and M, who took pity on me while my family was out of town), in addition to driving to Tahoe and back from San Francisco. They're a fine pair to share a road trip with. The other folks at our little two-site camp were also excellent individuals: two folks i knew and liked a whole bunch already, and a pair of folks i hadn't met before, but whom i quickly grew to like.
Before raft put-in, some of us stopped at the Dam Cafe for breakfast. I confess i didn't feel nervous at all in my sparkly purple dress... until the owner of the cafe wolf-whistled at me. I knew then i'd have to beat the boys off with a paddle for the rest of the day. He was a good sport about the people in formalwear flooding his cafe, and even suggested giving him a heads-up next year so he could provide ice cream for people in formalwear. I thought there might be more boys in dresses, but thankfully i was totally wrong. I really only had competition for prom queen from one person (i had seen pictures of her online, but they all seem to be gone now... no, really!).
There ended up being about 60-70 promgoers this year. I'd say at least 80% of them were legally intoxicated by the end of the run. Being The Dad, i remained sober and fished people out of the water. Ok, i fished people i liked out of the water. I also managed to mostly refrain from getting annoyed at the truly trashed people knocking other people's shit into the river. Or splashing people in boats that didn't really seem to want to participate in that kind of revelry.
Overall, my time was spent trying to keep the edges of the flotilla from getting snagged on rocks and branches. This proved difficult, since almost nobody else was paddling... out of the 40-50 people (with two to four people sharing a boat... which were lashed together). I did end up, by virtue of paddling, more often at the front of the flotilla... which made me the first thing that most other boats on the river saw. I quite enjoyed being the face, and having little kids (boys and girls!) admire my dress and wave at me.
Getting back to my pathetic attempts to steer the giant flotilla, there were times when it stretched three or four boats deep, but also from one shore to the other. This configuration made river crossings and what "rapids" there were interesting, in the faux-confucian sense.
By the end, the flotilla had completely lost coherence. My boat was still lashed to one with one of my new friends in it. The boat also contained someone i hadn't met, but who completely passed out from some combination of alcohol and sun. Navigating rapids while trying to direct other (drunker, less concerned) people to check her breathing and pulse was a high point for my crisis management self esteem. Getting this person out of the boat was also a lot of fun, and i can say with some conviction that she didn't drown that day, which i feel scored me more Dad points. Which were completely negated by my losing my other new buddy from the campsite. She made it to shore safely, of course, but i did have a good fifteen minutes of panic after i lost sight of her and didn't find her immediately at the end.
A small group of us that camped together decided that maybe next year, a smaller, more queer event can happen. For some reason i had imagined that RiverProm would be more like a three dollar bill, but like i said... i was the only boy in a dress! It was also a bit chaotic for my tastes and while i had an excellent time, less people to lifeguard for would be nice. Feel free to contact me if you should feel like doing a RiverQBall of sorts next year!