By Sarah Hubert
“Paddle out into the current and then stay to the left of the rock that looks like a triangle above the water. All ahead!” Youth and their adult chaperones enter the East Outlet ready to paddle themselves over waves, around rocks, and through Ledge Falls in their Bucket Boats (4 person inflatable raft). The youth group plays “Follow the Leader” with their AB guide, who is leading them in their Ducky, aka an inflatable kayak. Along the way, bald eagles soar overhead and people are fly fishing from the shore or a drift boat. The AB guides eddy out to talk with the group about rapids ahead and whether to stay river right or river left. And sometimes the Bucket Boats get hung up on rocks in shallow water, and with some bouncing, shifting of bodies, and an AB guide pushing, it’s back to paddling. Kids and adults smile, pride themselves on working their boat through a few rapids on their own, and feel ready for bigger rapids the next day on the Kennebec River.
The East Outlet is about 3 miles long until it dumps into Indian Pond, the body of water created by the Harris Station Dam. Before heading out onto Indian Pond, lunch is served – sandwiches, chips, a piece of fruit, lemonade, and a cookie. After lunch, the Bucket Boats are clipped together using rope and then attached to the motor boat, which hauls a magnificent line of blue boats 7 miles down Indian Pond to the Overnight campsite. Once at the ON campsite, youth and adults set up their tents, lay down Paco pads, and enjoy the afternoon of swimming, stand up paddling (SUP), paddling Duckies, or playing a card game. A hearty snack of vegetables, cheese, pepperoni, and crackers are prepared by the guides and enjoyed on the picnic tables by the water. As the evening sets in, the loons can be heard, the guides are cooking chicken and ribs over the open fire, and maybe there’s a really good cribbage game going. After dinner, the wilderness sauna is available – be ready to sweat and then jump into the pond to feel refreshed! A glorious sunset and S’mores always end the night.
Breakfast is served at 7am – pancakes, sausage, eggs, orange juice, and fruit. A hearty meal to begin a day of rafting! Personal gear is put back into the dry bags, tents are rolled up, and everyone is dressed for a day on the Kennebec River. Another tow of 2 miles takes everyone to the boat launch, which is a short walk away from the adventure of rafting! An Overnight trip is a unique way to have an adventure on water and in the wilderness. Come on an Overnight to explore Maine with AB guides who know how to create “wicked cool” experiences for kids and their adult chaperones!