Tuesday, September 9, 2008

White Water Rafting on the Kennebec River

I spent this past weekend with some friends up in The Forks, Maine doing some white water rafting with the Northern Outdoors company. I've never been rafting and I was very excited. My wife, not so much. She was petrified! But, she faced her fears, and got on the river and loved it. We rafted on the Kennebec river leaving from a Hydro electric dam about 20 miles north of where we stayed. Luckily for us, Saturday was a scheduled dam release, so the normal 3,400 CFS (cubic feet per second) was more than doubled to 8,700 CFS. That made for some pretty big rapids, two sections were class IV. It was a long day, but we all managed to stay in the boat without getting tossed by the rapids, thanks to our guide Nick Atwood. I recommend him if anyone goes up there. He knows the river well and will make the trip a lot of fun for you.

The best part of the weekend happened when we got to the lodge and I realized that not only was this an outdoor adventure company, but they were a brewpub too. They had 5 beers on tap this weekend, Kennebec Logger (a pilsner lager), Kennebec Summer Ale, Big Mamma Blueberry Ale (named after the big mamma rapids), Ripogenus Red (amber ale), Magic Hole IPA, and were out of their Class V Stout which according to all the guides is there best beer.

My personal favorite was the Ripogenus Red, but I really liked the blueberry. It was a lot darker than most commercial blueberry's I've seen, but it tasted every bit as good. Although we didn't eat dinner there, we had breakfast and lunch and both were fantastic. I am definitely going to plan another trip. They also raft on two other rivers up in Maine, The Dead River and the Penobscot river. The Dead river is supposed to have equally big rapids, but they last almost the entire 15 miles. It has the most continuous white water than any other Eastern river and some are even class V. The Pennobscot is a much bigger class river with bigger rapids, mostly class V, but they are short technical sections. Our guide is pushing us to come up and do the Pennobscot next as he said it's so much better.



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