Taster, Magic, and Big Mama

I’ve always known that white water rafting means big yellow boats, a roller coaster of rapids, and getting a little (lot) wet.

Little did I know that rushing toward those crests with nothing but a paddle isn’t even half of the story.

I never could have known that rafting would mean tugging at the butt of a stranger’s wet suit as she dressed, offering my help by saying “I’m just gonna grab a handful, k?”.

Or that I’d yell “Oh baby! Oh baby!” in front of 119 strangers as my boat caught the first lick of Taster.

Something else I learned? Wet suits are really wet. And tight. And not a good look for anyone. With only men’s sizes available, we ladies were faced with a straight jacket up top and a world of room down below. I’m not sure what men are preparing for exactly but I could have fit a small family of chihuahuas down my suit and then some. We topped off the ensemble with Michael Jackson jackets, shoulder pads up near our ears leaving just enough room for mosquitoes the size of my fist to sneak in and grab a meal. Sadly, we weren’t able to photograph our tasty little numbers before boarding the buses to the river – no room for cameras in a wet suit!

Three friends and I (see us saying hey up above?) went to The Forks, Maine on Saturday afternoon for a night of camping and a Sunday of rafting with Northern Outdoors. As we passed through New Hampshire and into Maine, it occurred to me that I had never been camping without a Boy Scout. What the heck did we think we were doing? No, we wouldn’t have to pitch a tent thanks to tent cabin #5 but what would we do if we couldn’t start a fire? Or if a bear (er, skunk) came into our site in the middle of the night? Or if I suddenly needed to tie a knot with my teeth and weave a basket with meadow grass?

That’s what Boy Scouts do, right?

My friends have apparently been hiding the fact that they could star on Survivor and give Bear Grylls a run for his money.

Or at least that they could probably pitch a tent without a certified Eagle Scout.

10 minutes after gathering kindling, we had flames!

And s’mores!

I’ll risk a verbal lashing and admit that I love the idea of s’mores more than s’mores themselves. Part of me wishes that every component was warm and mushy, you know? Like a s’mores pudding or pie…

Either way, I love burning those little suckers to bits and then peeling off the charred outside layer. Burnt and caramelized sugar? It makes my heart flutter.

We woke up bright and early on Sunday morning to a chill in the air and threatening skies. The folks at Northern Outdoors treated us so well from the very start and despite scaring us silly in the safety lesson about sliding under the boat or taking a t-bar to the nose, I was pumped to get started.

My little boat of 8, led by our fearless guide, Brandi, took on that river like beasts and never looked back. The wildest rapids were at the very beginning of our trek and, after stopping for a tasty snack of GORP and hot chocolate, we lazied down the second half and took in the stunning scenery. While I loved every moment of our trip, I can imagine that idling down the river is far more enjoyable on a hot and sunny day than on a day when our lips were blue and our hands were permanently bent around the paddles with cold.

After a long morning spent paddling (and shivering), the guides served up a fantastic warm lunch. One great thing about the chilly weather? We got to eat at the lodge and drink the Kennebec Brewery’s beer! Brewed right downstairs from the main room, this beer was so fresh and flavorful – one of the best summer brews I’ve ever had.

While the Kennebec certainly served up some thrills, we were hoping for a wilder and longer ride on the rapids. We’re already planning our trip to Northern Outdoor’s Penobscot River location.

Our one regret? No moose sightings. I hear they’re more likely at the Penobscot…

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4 Comments to “Taster, Magic, and Big Mama”

  1. This is one of the most entertaining things I’ve read in a while.

  2. Whats the number of the girl on the right?!! Just kidding don’t actually post this

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