Since we live on the West Coast, we’ve ended up going on several Mexican Riviera cruises. They’re nice. Usually the weather’s good, the departure ports are convenient, and they’re usually reasonably priced. Good deal.

We went on one of these just about two years ago. I’d looked the shore excursions over and liked the looks of a “Sierra Madre Hike” in Puerto Vallarta. My husband and I hike a lot, so it wasn’t a stretch for us to do this. The description sounded good. There was a little notation about “your feet will get wet.” Big deal, huh?

So, we went. They bussed us out to some sort of ranch/restaurant/gift shop place and we took off from there. It was hot, but not killing hot, and the guides were nice and informative. They led us up over a hill and down the other side. The down the other side part was interesting – very steep and there were ropes to cling to so when you fell and broke your neck you could get a rope burn on your hand on the way down. Fine so far.

At the bottom of the hill, we stopped for a break and a soda. Nice shady picnic area type of place. All still good.

Then it was time to start back. The guides led us out the other end of the picnic area, and we immediately came to a river. A fast running, rain-swollen brown river. We had to cross that, so we all linked hands and started out. By mid-calf, it was hard going since the water was very fast and very strong. By mid-thigh, it was getting ridiculous. A lady ahead of me in the human chain lost her footing and went down, stopped only by one of the guides’ hands. She couldn’t get back on her feet! They finally got her vertical again after a lot of pulling while all of us stood there in the river trying not to follow her example. The head honcho guide decided to go back, so we all went back to the shore we came from.

The leader of the guides said he was going to get a horse – a group of horseback riders had arrived at the picnic area just as we were leaving – to carry our cameras and such across and then we’d all give it another try.

I can’t swim. Stupid, I know. But there it is. I can’t swim. And I said so to the guide. I said that nowhere in the hike description had it said anything about anything like this. This didn’t seem to compute with him, but eventually he said that he would send me across the river on the horse along with the cameras. Fine. Another lady in the group immediate informed him that she was going across on the horse too!

We got across – the other lady and I on separate trips on the horse and rest of them clinging to each other in the daggone raging torrent. We started the walk back to the ranch, and it was really nice. Pretty trail. Flat. Cool enough too, since we were all evaporating from the river crossing. After about a half mile going down the trail, the guide led us off it, over to the river where we had to cross again. Nice.

The water was deep here, up to my shoulders, but it wasn’t running fast and I had my husband to hold onto. So, I waded across that just fine.

What’s the point of this whole ramble? The point is that if you’re looking at a Princess Cruiselines shore excursion and it says you’ll get your feet wet, you should just take scuba gear with you and be done with it.

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