That “very special river” in central Idaho, and other rivers like it that these outdoor enthusiasts frequent, have become a core component of the Cocketts’ lives. The outdoor activities, Noelle said, are a type of capstone at the center of their marriage and their family.
“I’m fairly physical, and I enjoy doing physical things,” Noelle said, smiling as she pointed to photos of the couple rafting with their children. “It just really appealed to me, and John has always enjoyed water. So I think I was like, ‘Wow, this is really something I could enjoy,’ and I think John wanted someone that he could enjoy it with.”
The family makes an effort to take a rafting trip at least once a summer, where they can be “unplugged from email and whatnot for a long, long time.” Many times in the past, the family has found itself rafting the Colorado River through the middle of the Grand Canyon, a prime location to escape the stresses of work and appreciate nature.
Their Grand Canyon trip nearly ended in tragedy in 2009, however, when Noelle thought she had lost her entire family for a horrifying moment.
John and Dylan, then just 14 years old, took a raft through the rapids without a problem, culminating in an exhilarating ride over the legendary Lava Falls. The two secured the raft and hiked back up, where they met Noelle and Chantelle to take the second raft down.
In retrospect, John said, he was “a little too cocky,” thinking “it was a piece of cake.”
As the young family stepped into the second raft, a violent rapid swept over them, causing the raft to flip. Noelle was pushed onto a small rock nearby, but her contacts had flushed out, making her unable to see her husband or her children. She began to panic, but then finally caught sight of her two children, safely with John.
The memory is a constant reminder to be careful, the couple said, but it hasn’t curbed their enthusiasm for the world. When the weather isn’t suitable for rafting, Noelle and John enjoy skiing at Beaver Mountain and various resorts in Park City, which the two consider a “second home.”