06/17/2006 – 06/18/2006
The Whitewater rafting trip is a yearly event and one of everyone’s favorites. In the past, we would leave on Friday nights and drive north for hours, making stops that were longer than they needed to be and arriving in Maine after midnight. Rafting would be first thing in the morning on the Dead River, which was very fun and anything but dead. A lazy afternoon would follow, and the company’s adult oriented attitude was made clear by the bar used to fill it. All the scouts always had fun, but the drivers never liked the late nights. The adult leaders decided this year the troop needed a change.
This year we used a new company, Adventure Bound, and went on a new river, the Kennebec. Adventure Bound was much more youth friendly with many more activities for kids. We left early on Saturday morning and arrived, after a roughly five or six hour ride, at the location around one o’clock. It was a large series of buildings with relatively big cabins for us to stay in, and we were interested to see exactly what was offered to us for entertainment. We had two cars going up, and the first car which I arrived in inspected the facilities while waiting for the other. We immediately noticed the indoor climbing wall, the pool, the arcade game room, and the pool tables. We ate lunch when the second car arrived, were fitted with harnesses, and went off to complete a ropes course. We did four of the different challenges, the first two testing teamwork at heights about thirty feet off the ground. The second two were more for exhilaration, the first involved jumping out and grabbing onto a bar about thirty feet off the ground, and the other was a large swing. The swing was no ordinary swing; a person was attached to a rope, pulled about thirty feet off the ground in one direction, and then released, causing them to swing back and forth. We finished those within an hour and went off to Moxy Falls, which is a yearly tradition.
Every year we hike in and go swimming at the bottom of the large waterfall named Moxy. The bugs are bad but the water is surprisingly warm each time. Afterwards we returned to “base camp” and had hamburgers and hotdogs for dinner made for us by the Adventure Bound staff. We hung around after dinner for the indoor rock climbing wall, which had eight routes up the roughly thirty-five foot wall. The grips were painted making them slippery, and lots of sweaty kids from other troops who were also staying there made the hardest climb impossible for some of our troop’s experienced climbers. The combination of sweat and smooth surfaces made certain key grips unusable all over the wall. Afterwards, we found ways of amusing ourselves either with movies, games, swimming, or an assortment of other options. A group of us watched a movie that ran later into the night than the suggested bedtime, but being older than some of the other kids going rafting we figured we could manage. We finally all got into bed and after having some trouble with squeaky cots were able to fall asleep.
We woke up and stumbled in for breakfast at about six thirty. After several safety speeches, the acquisition of any wetsuit equipment we needed plus an assortment lifejackets, paddles, and helmets, we all filed onto a bus. The ride to the dam at the top of the Kennebec where we put in was about a half an hour to forty-five minutes long and filled with anticipation. We met without guide when we got off the buses and carried our raft down a long set of stairs to the river below. We had the first aid kit in our raft so we were the last to put off into the river. After going over some of the various maneuvers with us that we would need to use at our guide’s instruction on the river, our guide told us that we seemed to be one of the best rafts she had ever gone down the river with and so she would try to get us on some of the bigger rapids. In total the portion of the Kennebec which we would be traveling was twelve miles long, the first half containing most of the rapids. We set off on a thoroughly enjoyable trip down a river which most of us had never traversed before. My personal favorite and I’m sure many others’ favorite as well was the rapid called Magic. It was a portion of the river in which it reaches a sort of cliff and suddenly drops off about five feet depending on how much water is being release from the dam. Upon finishing the rapids section we stopped and our guide and two of us went up a flight of stairs, retrieving the food for our lunches and a small inflatable kayak for later use. Not long after returning to the river we stopped again, this time for about a half an hour. The guides prepared our lunches and we hung around until it was time to eat. We had chosen the day before whether we wanted steak, chicken, or one of two other meals. All the choices were excellent and after cleaning up and hearing a safety lecture on the uses of the now inflated kayaks, we set off again.
We proceeded down the rest of the river lazily, using halves of laundry detergent bottles to heave water at other rafts and ourselves. We even went swimming when our guide told us the river was deep enough for it to be safe. Only one person was particularly interested in the kayak, however the rest of us had fun flipping it over while he was trying to escape our grasp. Too soon the end of the river came and we helped unload our raft, partially deflate it, and then load it onto a flatbed truck where other guides deflated it further. We then filed onto the bus again and when all the rafts had been pulled out and their occupants were loaded onto the bus as well we headed off on the ten minute ride back to camp. There, we returned any borrowed wetsuit gear and the rest of our equipment, then changed into dry clothes and loaded up our cars for the trip home. We didn’t leave right away however; we stayed to watch the slideshow and movie that were taken of us as we passed certain points on the river. Happy with the fact that they ended the film with a fight we had staged between three of our guys, we left around four o’clock on the long ride home. Making few stops, we returned around nine at night and the drivers drove their passengers to their homes and dropped them off there. The trip is always something to look forward to even though it involves a long ride, for those who haven’t gone yet don’t know what they are missing!