As you probably saw last week on my instagram, we spent a weekend on the river and what an adventure that turned out to be! Warning, this post is a tad longer than my usual and honestly I found it really therapeutic to put my emotions and story on paper.
We packed up the car super early on Saturday morning headed toward Todd, NC where Justin’s family had rented a cabin on the river for the weekend. The idea had been for all of us to spend the weekend in the sun floating down the river.
We knew rain was in the forecast but honestly had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. A few hours later we pulled up to the cabin and crossed a one lane bridge over the river. At that point the water level was already high but we didn’t know just how high it was going to get. We decided to still enjoy the day and float down the river despite the rain. So we packed up two cars, 8 floats, 7 people and one cooler ready to make the most of the weekend!
Both myself and my future brother in law’s girlfriend offered to drive and parked out cars at the Todd Island state park a couple miles upriver from our cabin. There we dropped into the river and floated down without a care in the world. It took us a couple hours to float down the river but we honestly had such a blast no one really minded the rain much!
Once we got back to the cabin, we hopped in the hot tub cooked dinner and started playing board games while the rain continued to pour. The weather crossed our minds a few times, knowing there was only one way on and off the river. But our AirBnB host encouraged us and said that the bridge had only ever flooded a few times before and only during major hurricanes. So with our doubts put to rest, we enjoyed our night and all went to bed.
We all woke up super early Sunday AM because we could all feel something was off. By 6 AM, the bridge was already overtaken by the river. All we could see from the cabin was the wake of where the bridge once was. The river had already crested and was coming up along the backyard. We then realized that where we left our cars the day before might also be flooding.
Justin and his brother decided to then take the car keys and a pair of kayaks across the river to try and move the cars. In what was the most horrifying moment of my life, Justin flippd his kayak less than 100 yards from the rapids where the bridge once stood. I swear time froze and all that mattered in that moment was his safety. Luckily Justin is an avid swimmer and was able to haul ass back to the shore where we all stood in panic. Justin’s brother made it across the river and was able to hitch a ride from a neighbor to check on the cars. We only saw him an hour or so later when he paddled back across the raging river. What we learned is that the river had risen and the water was now over the floorboards of each of the cars.
It was not even 8 am and I had experienced nearly every emotion at this point. It wasn’t until later that afternoon that we learned the true fate of our cars as my parents sent us a link to a news article featuring our cars. The pictures below were taken at noon that Sunday and by this point the water was over the steering wheels.
It took another 36 hours of sitting and waiting before the rain stopped and the river level dropped enough before we could pack up and feel safe crossing the bridge.
I’ve learned a lot from this experience… first that mother nature is a boss that shouldn’t be messed with. But also just how lucky we are. Lucky that everyone walked away from a weekend on the river safe and sound. While losing 2 cars isn’t an easy pill to swallow, cars can be replaced and family cannot.
Thank you to everyone who called, texted and made sure we were all ok! Your support has meant the world to us. Now we move forward and hopefully put this behind us. And maybe one day soon we can look back and laugh at our weekend on the river.