Greetings from Maine! We have just dropped off the last of the adventurers at the airport and are headed for home. We had a very exciting and adventurous experience. Twenty-five excited backpackers started off the trip hiking up Mt. Katahdin and scaling the Chimney and Knife’s Edge up to Baxter Peak. The “trails” were full of boulder slides and the group did more rock scrambling than actually hiking on the trials. One team had a 21-hour non-stop hike up to the peak and back down Abol trail the next morning. It was a very tough trip. The hikers worked together to help each other and showed a real spirit of teamwork. We ended the hiking portion of the trip on Sunday by climbing up beautiful and picturesque DoubleTop Mountain.
A full day of whitewater kayaking lessons was next on the adventure team list. We started with lessons on how to roll over, wet exit and finished with paddling techniques. The second half of the day found us paddling down the Penobscot River and learning eddy turns and how to “surf” in our kayaks. This is where our training on wet exits became very useful for some! Two adventurers even learned the Eskimo Roll (roll over upside down and then right the kayak back up without exiting the boat). The guides were impressed with our quick mastery of some of the skills as well as the responsible hard-working example set by the group.
We completed our eight-day adventure with a whitewater rafting trip down the mighty Penobscot River. In the morning we conquered the lower half of the river, where Class 4 rapids were swirling around waiting to devour rafters. Nesoudanhunk Falls took our first victims. Within minutes we had five rafters swimming. Our able guides pulled the smiling swimmers back into the raft with ease. These guides proved how skilled and well-trained they were all day long. After lunch it was time to get down to business—the Upper River. Two Class 5 rapids and a series of Class 4 rapids awaited us. We entered the gorge and the first Class 5 rapid “the Exterminator” was calling. Of the four boats that passed through, the Exterminator “tacoed” boat number two and claimed three rafters. It was a cold and exhilarating swim to say the least. An expertly tossed rope, and our able guides rescued the last swimmer from the churning water.
The entire trip was a huge success. Everyone is headed home safely with no injuries other than scrapes and bruises. God provided beautiful weather for us to enjoy the activities and the beauty that surrounded us. The adventurers were challenged and had the time of their lives.