PHOENIX (KSAZ) - "When we started, we had clear skies, we had no warning," Mary Gessler said.
It was a typical monsoon day with clear conditions one minute, but in the next minute, storms were near the vicinity.
"Clouds were rolling closer and closer to us and the wind was picking up, and the pace of the river picked up from the speed of the wind, I was getting concerned that some weather was going to rollover us," she said.
And it did.
Gessler says it started up with a few passing showers, then the rain quickly started to pick up.
"The rain was really painful," she said. "It was like little rock pellet beating on us... the wind was loud. My son and I locked arms so that we won't be separated from each other and it was really painful, but we were just hunkering down."
At that point, she stopped recording. Gessler and her son were getting pounded against a rock when a couple of guys came to help out and kept them in the middle of the river.
After a few minutes, then came lightning, and at that point, they wanted out.
"When the lightning started, we started booking, trying to find somewhere... an embankment of some sort," Gessler said.
The group eventually did and waited out the storm for about a half hour. After storm passed, they went back into the river to search for the end point.
"When we saw the exit sign, we started cheering," Gessler said. "It was like surviving a massive... we were able to make it to the end."
Gessler is thankful to the strangers who helped her during s uch a frightening experience.
"Those two gentlemen floating by did not have to grab my son and I and pull us together and I'm very grateful for the kindness of strangers, that they took us with them," she said.