In the last few years, I’ve participated in the most extreme adventures that I could imagine. Even my wedding day included a little bit of rock climbing and a trip up the trapeze ladder to swing my way into married life. You may have a different opinion of what constitutes an extreme adventure, but I’ve narrowed it down to my top 5 extreme adventures based on sheer fear, nervousness, excitement, and potential to crap my own pants.
Flowing into the number three spot is whitewater rafting/riverboarding in class five rapids.
What do you get when you combine the extreme adventure sports of whitewater rafting and riverboarding? It’s called the ultimate adrenaline rush and Millinocket, Maine is the only place in North America where you can do them both in the same day.
Gone are the days of relaxing on a river or paddling quietly in a canoe. New trends in travel include adrenaline, extreme adventure sports, and pushing the limits. At the base of Mount Katahdin, Maine’s highest peak, I found Maine Whitewater River Surfing and the experience of a lifetime!
Rafting the Class V Penobscot River and riverboarding the whitewater rapids was an action-packed day with two of the friendliest adrenaline junkies that I met in my lifetime. Whitewater rafting is an ultimate experience by anyone’s standards, but the tough Class V Penobscot River has chutes, drops, and large holes that challenge both guide and guest alike. In exciting rapids like Exterminator, Cribworks, and the Nesowdnehunk Falls, I quickly learned that I could easily be in over my head, but the guides are experts and carefully selected to make the ride both safe and exciting. It is 13 miles of pure adrenaline, yet I still found the time to look up and enjoy the breath-taking scenery that surrounded me.
Before we even left the training waters, one guest paddled himself out of the raft, and we realized that rafting is not all about muscles or size. The white water was in my face and I was soaked to the bone, but I managed to stay in the raft. During the very little down time that the Penobscot has to offer, I took the opportunity to go for swim in the white waters. I left my reservations about fish and other marine life at home and splashed around like a child. After the liberating experience of controlling the waters, there was no time for fear of a few fish.
The Penobscot River has long been a popular spot for whitewater rafting, but now Maine Whitewater River Surfing is kicking it up a notch and giving people a chance to run the rapids without the boat. It’s called riverboarding and Maine Whitewater River Surfing is one of the only outdoor adventure company in New England that does it.
After a day of rafting, my arms were tired and my back was tight, but we set out to reach the shore of the Penobscot and get our first look at the rapids from a boarder’s perspective. There were wetsuits, life jackets, helmets, and even fins to go with the boards, but the view was still intimidating. I didn’t know what to expect. Seeing the water rushing and the white caps foaming looked dangerous; that’s why the trip started with a safety lesson. We learned about currents, and the all-important signals; including the panic signal of waving your arms frantically in the air, which seemed rather straightforward. With the help of guides, Karl and Mike, we finally began to tackle the whitewater.
The first step was to swim across the river against a powerful current, which was not easy; it was more work than fun. The ride down the rapids was intense; as the water smashed against my face and I missed the surf, I became more and more comfortable with the frightening situation. However, there’s really nothing that can prepare you for a wall of whitewater rushing at your head, and while it’s intense; I did it over and over again. Riverboarding is relatively new in North America and I am now a member of an exclusive club.
Karl and Mike catered to our extreme needs and and took the time to play in the rapids, utilizing swimming holes and waterfalls. It was their extensive knowledge of the river and willingness to bring us over the edge that made Whitewater Rafting/Riverboarding my #3 extreme adventure.