I did not wake in a cold sweat. I woke incomprehensibly relieved to discover I was in bed. In my own house, next to my blissfully sleeping wife, dry and warm, and not where I had just dreamed I was.
Which, for a river rafting guide, was the equivalent of Dante's ninth circle of hell.
I was on the bank of a river deep in the bowels of the earth. Upstream and downstream of me were imposing swaths of white water. The white water upstream threatened like it was going to spill over the banks and wash me and all the gear and my boat partner downstream into the hungry turbulence below.
It was formidable white water and I had no recollection as to how I had made it as far as I had.
My raft was old and listless with no kick in the bow or the stern. In my nightmare, it was empty, tethered to something on shore, bobbing slightly in the only calm water that could be seen.
The rapid surging below us reminded me of Ram's Horn on the Wind River, but the terrain --- dark, foreboding, precipitous cliffs blocking out the sunlight --- conjured images of Skull Rapid in Westwater Canyon.
My boat buddy, Steve Laboff, seemed unperturbed by our predicament which I was just beginning to grasp.
"That sofa is going to make for a sweet ride," he said. He plopped down on it and bounced up and down a little.
I looked about the beach and realized that everyone had launched and left us with not just the sofa, but the entire living room set. Loveseat, Ottoman, coffee table. . .
And the bedroom set.
And the dining room table and chairs.
"How in the hell am I going to get all of this on that boat?"
And, in my dream, THAT was my biggest concern. NOT --- "How are we going to make it through those rapids with all this stuff?"
Or, "Why do I have a household of furniture on a river trip?"
And then it got worse.
I realized we didn't have any means to rig any of it onto the flaccid, old boat. We had no webbing, no straps, not even any bungie cords.
As I stood on the bank taking it all in, the pounding of the water on the rocks gnawing at the back of my mind, the thought of balancing sofas and mattresses on each end of the raft and then negotiating boat-dwarfing waves, I could feel my anxiety rising.
That was when my dog, Daisy, jumped up onto the bow of the raft as if announcing that she was ready to go.
And I awoke incomprehensibly relieved I was not where I had dreamed I was. And there was Daisy at the foot of the bed, giving me the stinkeye, making a couple of turns before curling up into a ball of snoring fur.