Thursday, January 26, 2012

Whitewater Rafting | Millinocket, ME

Last summer, we went whitewater rafting with a group of friends. It was our first time and, well, it was pretty epic.

We rafted 13 miles down the Penobscot River, outside of Millinocket, ME, with Three Rivers. The Penobscot is a class V river, which, according to wiki means: "whitewater, large waves, continuous rapids, large rocks and hazards, maybe a large drop, precise maneuvering."  Exciting for a first time adventure, yes?  All I can say is thank goodness for the amazing raft guides who basically keep you alive and moving down the river. By the end of the day we were affectionately calling our guide, Kris, raft-daddy.  Seriously, dude protected us.

After a safety talk and getting life jackets, the day starts by loading school buses and driving to the drop off point.  The rafts take turns maneuvering down the river and through each rapid. The most popular part of rafting down the Penobscot is the waterfall.  If memory serves me, it's about a seven or eight foot drop.  This is the main event. Each raft goes down, lucky if everyone aboard doesn't fall out. Once you regain your composure (and collect any lost passengers and paddles) at the bottom of the drop, you're able to climb back to the top of the waterfall, hauling the boat, and do it all over again.  And, so, our raft wanted to do it again.  Problem was, because we had quite a few ladies in the raft, it proved difficult for us to paddle against the current and line up for the waterfall... so we went down rather ungracefully.  You know, flipping over the boss's boat once we crashed to the bottom of the fall.  No big deal, especially since it was raft-daddy's first ride down the Penobscot.  Ooops. This definitely allowed for some good laughs during the video viewing later that evening!

Rafting down the Penobscot is not just about the waterfall. There's one stop in the afternoon for a river-side grilled lunch, which was notably delicious (I can taste the sun-melted chocolate chip cookies even now). There is also falling out of the raft, an event in and of itself.  The first couple of times someone falls out, the rest of the passengers scurry to remember the tips for pulling the person back in.  Chaos.  I never fell out, but Taras did - we were floating down a calm part of the river and he just plopped right over, ha!  And the river is beautiful.  Seriously, gorge.  There comes a point where there are no rapids and you can get out of the raft and float down the river. The downtime gave us a chance to look around and really take in the beauty.  Mountains. Birds. Nestled cabins. By the end of the trip I felt surprisingly calm and relaxed (one thing I did not expect to say about my first whitewater rafting experience!).

Other details? We camped in a yurt at the Penobscot Outpost.  Four sets of bunk beds and a working bathroom - now that's camping. Nights were spent around the campfire and at the onsite Boatman's Bar and Grill, where adventurers and locals alike come for live music and drinks.

Millinocket is about a six hour drive from Boston.  I recommend stopping in Portland, ME on the way up for lunch at Flatbread Pizza, then making a detour to Ogunquit, ME on the way home for lobster rolls and sea-side views.

Most of these photos were purchased from Three Rivers.  A few at the end were taken by our friend Katie, who was smart enough to bring a disposable water proof camera.


The white boat that is on its side is the boss's! You would think our whole boat fell out, but only a couple did!

Do you see the air-borne paddle?  This was a common occurrence!

1 comment:

  1. Its my great pleasure to visit your blog and to enjoy your awesome posts here. I like that a lot. Thanks.

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