The Penobscot Swim Team

We had a great time rafting with Northern Outdoors however our trip didn’t go exactly as planned. This was our second time rafting and we had heard that the Penobscot was the best in New England, so when it came time to book the river selection seemed obvious! Check in at the lodge and the bus ride to the put in we’re pretty uneventful and as expected. The guide on the bus kept talking about the river flow being 3200 CFS. He might as well be speaking German? We arrived at the put in and this is where we met our fearless guide, and the rest of our boat crew. We were paired with 6 women from MA who seemed to be seasoned vets as this was their 3rd or 4th time down this river. Our guide Cool Hand Luke appeared calm, confident and calculated. myself, As a surfer, free diver, and scuba diver I coin myself a near waterman and my partner in crime a veteran of the Marriott life guard squad it seemed we had experience and confidence on our side!

We were the last raft of 10 to put in but we were to be the first raft down. We piled in, chose our positions and ran through our commands again! We were ready! Our guide Luke reassuring us that we were good to go. We would lead the pack stay close to the first rock wall, shoot the first class V rapid and head down the river, things were great, as long as we hit our line we would be alright! So on we went, we paddled down river towards the granite wall ready to hit the first hole when something went terribly wrong…… The bow of the raft hit the hole, came up and flipped from right to left, within an instant we were all swimming! First thought that comes to your mind is what they teach you, head up and point your feet down river….. Yea right, easier said than done! I was head up, head down, feet up, under the raft, on the bottom, back up side down, swimming for my life. I made my way back to the raft where our well trained guide was already back on the raft and pulling bodies from the water. My raft mate in the water next to me was struggling to stay above water and in an attempt to help her I accidentally pulled some of her hair out! Sorry about that! I then got on top of our still capsized raft. By this time another raft came over to assit, we righted our raft, collected our entire boat crew and made it to shore. Our limbs battered, our egos bruised and our confidence shaken. Our guide broke out the first aid kit and performed some minor first aid, ice packs etc. and proceeded to build us back up! When we first hit the shore most of the boat was shaken and did not want to continue, I thought it was going to be just Luke and I the rest of the day…. However our awesome guide proceeded to go over what happened and talk the crew in to proceeding on!

Needless to say all but one continued on and we had a great day, our guide Luke was awesome and we had a great time! It is obvious that Northern Outdoors trains their guides for the worst case scenario and truly care about the people on their tours!

Thanks for an awesome time, can’t wait to come back!!!!

Boston, Massachusetts

Rating: 5 *****

Penobscot River – The Best Rafting in New England


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