08 Jul 09 Why Rafting is the Real Deal Water Park
Hah! Therein lies the magic of whitewater rafting. Anywhere. In the world. But I’ll talk about whitewater rafting in New England, and specifically in our beloved state of Maine.
There are many many awesome rivers in Maine to paddle, float, swim, and fish in. For actual white water rafting, there are three rivers that are, quite simply, the best: the Kennebec, the Penobscot, and the Dead River. (Not quite an apt name cause the river it’s way alive with exceptional whitewater action, to be sure!)
All three rivers are dam-controlled rivers, that means that the water levels are consistent all summer long. With lots of rain (like we had all spring!) the water gets higher, obviously. For experienced rafters and adrenaline junkies, this is WAY FUN. For everyone else, my years of experience as guide, mom, and friend says its better to do your first rafting trip at regular levels. Work up to bigger and bigger water if you love the thrill. You don’t have to be on big water tho to get the most out of river rafting. Fun, playful rapids, warm sunshine, great riverside grilled lunches, being outdoors all day with friends and family in FRESH AIR, is absoltuely fantastic. Watch a video of one family’s experience on the Kennebec.
Rafting is mother nature’s rollercoaster, with nice pauses in between rapids for catching your breath and looking at the incredible scenery in Maine’s wilderness as you float by. It’s bouncy, absolutely, with great big waves that will drench you and leave you laughing so hard you might cry. Sit in the front if you want to be soaked all day. Sit in the back on the guide’s side if you want to stay dryest (they tend to keep themselves the driest!). If your kids are younger, put them in the middle seats (on either side of the boat), and sit right behind them so you can grab them to make yourself feel protective in the rapids. They won’t likely need it but it’ll make you feel nicely useful!
With modern equipment and gear, you really don’t have to be a strong swimmer to go rafting. Heck, you don’t even have to know how to swim because the Type V PFDs (lifejackets) are so buoyant and well-designed, if you decide to go for a swim, planned or unplanned. (The majority of people rafting never fall out, but it’s mother nature so you have to be prepared. If you’re deathly afraid of water tho, why go? Send your friends and keep a seat at the bar for them at the lodge.)
For value-packed July family and friends specials at Northern Outdoors, check out our specials page. I’ll talk about the personality of each of these rivers in depth in my next blogs. The Kennebec is first up, stay tuned!