27 Aug 12 Excellent Maine Vacation
My experience with Northern Outdoors could not have been a better one! In all aspects of the river experience on the Kennebec, the service and staff, the lodge itself, as well as the surrounding natural beauty, I was very impressed.
Everyone else on my raft was equally surprised to learn that our guide, Elliot, had never been a guide before this summer. Having never rafter before myself, I was a little anxious about the Kennebec but Elliot as well as the other guides injected just the right note of humor into their extremely professional safety talk, and seemed to balance being approachable, friendly, and funny with being mindful of their own customers' safety as well as the other boats around them. The guides seem to enjoy themselves as much as the guests on the river, obviously working hard to keep track of things but with a constant smile! Elliot was very knowledgable and provided all kinds of information about local history, flora and fauna, and all aspects of the river itself. His obvious passion for the Kennebec, for Northern Outdoors, and for being a river guide was apparent in everything he did. Much like a good teacher who really loves their subject, that passion is infectious and added another dimension to the rafting experience beyond just the rapids (which were also, of course, very exciting)! Elliot seemed like the perfect balance of all the things a river guide should be, both to me as a beginner and to the more seasoned whitewater rafters in the group. It's hard to believe he is so young and hasn't been guiding for years.
I was also impressed with the extremely efficient lunchtime process, and the slide show at the end of the day in the lodge. The lunch on the river was very well organized as well as fresh, hot, and tasty. The video in the afternoon was a fun piece that I hadnt expected- the guide who narrated the slide show (nick maybe? With a moustache) was very funny and seemed to engage both the kids and adults. It was also nice to have a chance to dry off and get a drink/snack before sitting down again.
I thought the lodge was clean, beer was very good, and all of the guides/staff around the lodge were very friendly and helpful. Overall this was a fantastic experience and I would absolutely recommend Northern Outdoors to others. Thank you for an awesome introduction to whitewater!
Rating: 5 *****