Camping and Rafting

The roommates (Scott and Adam) and I went camping and white water rafting this weekend in western Massachusetts. There were six of us total, for Scott brought three of his friends.

On Saturday, we loaded up Scott’s truck and headed north around noon. After picking up a friend and meeting two others, our convoy headed up to the Massachusetts mountains. Though we have all had real camping experiences, we ended up staying at a family campground.

Our camping plot was right out in the middle of a field, wide open for all to see. So it didn’t really feel much like camping. We played cards, horseshoes, and Frisbee while enjoying hot dogs, hamburgers, and drinks. The usual camping stuff. Come 6:30 a.m., we woke, broke down the camp, loaded up the trucks, and headed off to start a day of rafting.

There are three rafting companies that service the Deerfield River. We chose Moxie Rafting.

After going through the required safety briefings much like that you’d receive on an airplane (except exits on a raft are located just about anywhere and the likelihood of using your flotation device is much greater), we loaded onto a bus and headed out to the river.

I sat next to one of the guides on the bus. Today was going to be her first training run as a river guide. Her husband, Ray, was going to be our guide. She assured us he was a great guide, so long as he remembered to take his medication that morning. We laughed.

I could tell she was nervous about making her first run. It was easy to figure that out, for her raft’s passengers included her parents, her husband’s mom, and two friends of the family. If she screwed up, she’d never hear the end of it.

She screwed up.

On the second rapid, she managed to not only hit a large rock in the middle of the river, she wrapped the entire raft around it. All of her passengers (family members, remember), ended up stranded on rock in the middle of a class 3 rapid. Paddles and gear floated downstream and word spread throughout the 10 Moxie rafts that were out that day that one of their rafts was in trouble.

Ray, hearing the news, pulled our raft to the shore, grabbed a gear back with safety ropes, and set off on foot upstream. The six of us? Well, we sat around for nearly two hours waiting for the rescue to complete. The sun wasn’t out, the water was cold, we were hungry, and we couldn’t even see the action, for it was too far up stream.

We did see another raft from another company flip over on the same rapid, as well as a few folks in kayaks. So we were semi-entertained. But all in all, the day was spent waiting and not rafting. Though some of the rapids were cool and exciting, we were glad to make it back to camp to get dry, fed, and to begin our journey home.

It was a good trip.