Outing Club: The Rafting Trip: The Special Mr. K Edition
By Siobhan Harrity: Orono Middle School, 8th Grade
On Saturday, June 2, the Orono Middle School outing club departed for their annual, ultra-fun whitewater kayaking/whitewater rafting/wilderness camping trip. A roughly two hour bus ride along the winding roads found us at the Three Rivers Whitewater base in The Forks. There, we were given a large breakfast of eggs, home fries, sausage and French toast before being outfitted with a wetsuit, PFD, and helmet.
Fast forward through some waiting around and a bus ride along a dirt road, complete with a moose sighting, and the intrepid middleschoolers arrived at the put-in to the East Branch of the Kennebec River. We each got an inflatable kayak, called a ducky (except for those who opted for the raft) and headed down the river. The East Outlet is a class 2-3 river, with the final rapid exceeding class 3. After making it through, we ferried to shore and took our boats up and through again. This has always been one of my favorite parts, but it was made better this year by a bright idea from Jill Tuell and Elizabeth Fox. They asked for, and got permission to swim the rapid. It immediately caught on and soon the water was teeming with middleschoolers.
After we exhausted ourselves there, we paddled downstream a bit to a lunch site. It was at this time that catastrophe struck Elizabeth Fox. Being the world's most accident-prone person, she just happened to step on a rock that sliced clean through the rubber sole of her bootie and deep into her foot. The cut was examined by the guides and fortunately a hospital visit was deemed unnecessary.
Upon finishing lunch, we were towed to our campsite on Indian Pond where we gratefully changed into dry clothes. The afternoon and evening were spent around the fire playing cards. We were fed an amazing supper and sent to our tents around ten o'clock. There was an inter-tent sing-along until Mr. K bellowed at us to, well, shut up. Not a fan of "Living on a Prayer," are you Chad?
The next morning we rose early, ate breakfast and broke camp by nine. We were towed to Harris Station where we were assigned a boat and a guide. Ah, yes. The guide. Jess Richards, Maggie Lynn, Cassie Clemmer, Jillian Tuell, Elizabeth Fox and I were in Ozzie's boat. Ozzie has been on the trip all three years I've gone, but this is the first time I had the...privilege...of interacting with him. All the way down the river, which is rife with rapids with names like Big Momma, Rock Garden, Whitewasher, and the notorious Magic Falls ("Sometimes it's magic, sometimes it's tragic" - Ozzie), our incorrigible guide was either speaking in rhyme, making up alternative lyrics to country songs, or telling jokes you'd be wise to omit when recounting the trip to your parents. Topics of conversation in our boat ranged from vegetables and how we like to cook them to Ozzie's girlfriend's preferred clothing labels and the lingerie he had recently bought her. The twelve mile river trip down the river was incredible fun. The jokes flowed freely; we got into vicious splashing wars with the boys' boat and took turns riding the front of the raft.
When we returned to The Forks, we got changed, had a late lunch, and watched the video that was taken just that day of us on the river. Then, oh horror, it was time to board the bus and head home. Following are the thoughts of some participants in this year's trip.
"Insane" – Ruth Mares
"Crazily fun" – Jess Richards
"Ozzie is the man!" – Elizabeth Fox
"It was cold, wet, and I got about two million bug bites. I'm definitely going again next year" – Audrey Landis
"Augh!! It was my last year" - Me
Email nick [at] noumbrella [dot] com with your questions, comments and concerns.
Design and Content © 2002 to 2006 No Umbrella