One thing I’m not particularly proud to admit is that I’m absolutely terrified of water. Rushing water, deep water, water with lots of plants, water known to have sharks, water with things to get stuck under, water at night… You get the idea, right? So for me to actually willingly take on a kayaking trip with deep fast moving Pemigewasset River water there must have been some awfully compelling reasons and crazy people behind the whole darn thing. I’m far too much of a water wimp otherwise!
Just a few short weekends ago, the usual adventure crowd (you haven’t met the other half of our quartet– I’ll introduce them officially in an upcoming post) decided to jump on a LivingSocial deal and head on up to Lincoln, New Hampshire to meet up with the fine folks at Outback Kayak. We quite honestly had no idea what we were getting ourselves in to, as the river had been insanely low for weeks, but just that morning had come off a flood warning that was threatening to postpone our trip. Nice timing, huh?
Out of the six of us (yeah, we added even more adventurers for this one), we had all been in a kayak at least once, three had significant but logical fears of water/tipping/drowning (myself, Lori, and Jen), and the other three were moderately insane (that’d be Rob, Eric, and Garrett). Fortunately, Outback Kayak assigned us to some fantastic guides, Peter and Siara, who seemed to be able to deal with the array of skill and daredevils perfectly. Something about their laidback awesome demeanor was contagious.
So we all grabbed a kayak, PFD, and paddle and set off. When Peter announced that we were coming up to our first rapid, I got to say that I was in almost panic mode but quickly learned to just use my brain, keep my kayak straight, and don’t stop paddling.
Anyways, as the group kept moving the rapids kept getting more and more interesting. There were gigantic rocks to avoid, eddies to escape, trees to dart around and under. We briefly managed to lose a kayak entirely when two people in our group tipped over in the same spot. I’d like to note that though Lori did it in style (it’s in the video). Never lost her kayak or paddle, kept smiling the entire time, and actually made it look like no big deal. Bravo, lady!
Soon after one rapid, Peter started yelling “Stick to the left!” and we couldn’t imagine why. The water looked pretty calm. But then out of quite literally nowhere came a camp on the side of the river with a grill going, picnic table, and company owner Kelly cooking away – and yep, it was all for us. Kelly had prepared a fantastic lunch of hamburgers and hot dogs (adventuring = BBQ) followed by jumping off a railroad bridge into the river. Try to beat that lunch!
Even though I think we all could have lounged around all day and kept jumping off the bridge, soon it was time to get back on the river. The lower section of the river was much calmer, right up until the very end where we had to go through what really looked and felt like some intense rapids. Even though I missed the correct line entirely, most of us tipped or took on too much water, and only two actually made it down right side up – it was still an awesome way to end a seven mile, two hour kayaking trip. Us water phobic cool kids felt like pros now, the daredevils felt even more empowered, and our guides actually seemed to like us decently well. Win!
All in all, our trip with Outback Kayak was phenomenal. I wouldn’t change a thing. The staff ranging from Debbie (at the office) to Peter and Siara (our guides) to Kelly (owner) was incredible. Throughout my time of reviewing New England adventures and venues, I always run across that one condescending person who has to ruin the bunch, but not here.
If you’re a newbie kayaker or just a weekend warrior, I seriously recommend checking out Outback Kayak. They’ll ask you about skill levels, age, and all that good stuff to figure out the best trip for you, so rest assured – it’s going to be awesome.
Thank you, Outback Kayak!