September 6th, 2018 @ 9:38 pm
for labor day weekend, we went up to maine for cabin living and white water rafting. when we were initially included in on these plans, kristen and i didn’t know exactly what we were getting into. our friends had done this rafting trip before, we haven’t. i’ve gone rafting on the delaware river gap, but it was so mild that we didn’t even require helmets… just life preservers. i was thinking that was probably class 2 or 3 or something. i had no idea really how to classify rapids, nor did i research. all i knew was that my boyfriend and our friends survived it and said it wasn’t that bad… i just went in blindly.
so we went rafting on the penobscot river’s west branch, which is full of class IV and V rapids… LEMME JUST BREAK THIS DOWN FER YA… these are the classes of rapids measured here in the USA… let me also just state this from the international scale of of river difficulty:
CLASS V: Extremely long, obstructed, or very violent rapids which expose a paddler to added risk. Drops may contain large, unavoidable waves and holes or steep, congested chutes with complex, demanding routes. Rapids may continue for long distances between pools, demanding a high level of fitness. What eddies exist may be small, turbulent, or difficult to reach. At the high end of the scale, several of these factors may be combined. Scouting is recommended but may be difficult. Swims are dangerous, and rescue is often difficult even for experts. Proper equipment, extensive experience, and practiced rescue skills are essential.
aka I HAD NO BUSINESS BEING IN THOSE DAMN RAPIDS…
i’ll cut this story off with a read more link bc it’s about to be a novela, but if in case you’re not enticed enough, here’s a visual of where ya girl basically almost died:
yeah, our raft right-over-left capsized with 8 people in it right there AND then got stuck on a rock on the back end while still upside down. i have another pic inside the post with details (circles on a pic, lol)
so here’s my visual take on this situation (click to enlarge, sorry about my horrible art)…
so it’s kind of hard to remember this from my memory bc it all happened so damn fast (one of the guides said it was about 21 seconds, lol), and i might be wrong, but i don’t think so. the rafter i drew here is clearly only 1 here in this depiction, but as aforementioned, there were 8 of us. 6 friends, 2 guides on the back. out of the 6 of us, 3 have been on class V rapids. the other 3, including myself, were basically clueless and helpless, lol.
SO! with that being said, allow me to explain this picture showcasing the ripogenus gorge’s rapids known as “cribworks”. the red circles are of where the things happened and the black arrows are to show you the direction/current of the river. mind you, our guide said in the 11 years that he’s been doing these trips, he’s never flipped in this spot. our bus driver also explained to use that the rapids were extra rough that day… yay.
circle 1. initial small drop in the cribworks – this is where we flipped. immediately entering cribworks, we hit that spot at a perfect storm when it had very little water in it, a massive rock that had been uncovered when the water had left and then the water was coming back up from the east side of the river. we just went straight for that hole, hit it and flipped. remembering how to get out from underneath the raft immediately, i did. i came up and grabbed the side of the raft’s cord.
circle 2. my friend and i had our bodies dragged across this rock before being rescued and i got bruised to all hell. my right thumb also got royally fucked bc of the cord i was holding onto when we initially flipped. it turned white and then fully bruised within hours. after she hit the rock, she let go and went floating backwards into the current. we lost her to the middle of the river, but luckily another raft caught her. my friend that was sitting in front of her, also on my side, floated away and another raft got him as well.
circle 3. between 2 and 3, i couldn’t take a breath. the rapids were so rough and high, that every time i went to take a breath, the water would just go above my head and i would just swallow water. i realized i was starting to panic, and i was getting tired, so i relaxed and used one of the floating techniques that the group leaders taught us to do. i floated on my back and got my nose and toes up. as soon as i calmed down for like 2 seconds, my friend and the guide pulled me up on top of the capsized raft.
once i got pulled up there, it was so fucking slippery, and i don’t really remember much. i do remember having nothing to hold onto, and the raft was still moving forward. i was like WTF i can’t go down rapids like this. the main guide was telling my friend and i to move down towards the front of the raft in circle 3 here, bc it was stuck on a rock and the front was pointing down, almost like a slide. i was so mad that he was asking us to do that, bc it was so fucking slippery, so i started to panic. i didn’t want to fall in right there or even look at what was ahead… another area of crazy rapids.
i dunno what happened, i stopped thinking and just started nudging forward with all of my weight while the guide pulled the raft and i was digging my fingers into the bottom lacing of the raft and it eventually came free. so yeah, after circle 3, we were STILL riding that fucking rapid on a capsized raft. i don’t know how we didn’t fall out again, lol.
after that we got to the calm waters and flipped our raft and kept on truckin’. part of the rafting package for the day was doing it all over again once you finished it. the girls and were like LOLKNOTHNX and stayed on the bus. we hung out with the bus driver and she was telling us a bunch of stories about when she was a guide… she was super nice.
if you want to see this rapids area in POV/fast motion, click here. this pretty much sums up where we were, towards the left and not the right of the river like some other videos. in fact, we may have even hit the same rock that’s in that video. where that person fell out is where we flipped. after that, they keep going to the right, we stayed towards the left the entire time.
in this video, towards the end, you can see the entire left side where we had our ordeal. where they go down the first drop, that’s where we flipped but in the bottom/left corner of the screen.
so yeah, if you’re not a person that goes rafting often, or even like once every 2 years, i don’t suggest doing this. i’m covered in bruises and nearly drowned.