International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year: Extreme Adventure
do you get when you combine the extreme adventure sports of whitewater
rafting, riverboarding, and skydiving? Itıs called the ultimate
adrenaline rush and Millinocket, Maine is the only place in North
America where you can do it all in the same weekend.
Gone are the days
of relaxing on a river, taking in the scenery from a comfy airplane
seat, or paddling quietly in a canoe. New trends in travel include adrenaline,
extreme adventure sports, and pushing the limits. At the base of Mount
Katahdin, Maineıs highest peak, I found Penobscot Adventures,
Three Rivers Jump and Raft, and the experience of a lifetime!
the Class V Penobscot River, riverboarding the whitewater rapids,
and skydiving from 11,000 feet was the most insane, adrenaline-filled
weekend of my life. Whitewater rafting is an ultimate experience
by anyoneıs standards, but the tough Class V Penobscot River has
chutes, drops, and large holes that challenge both guide and guest
alike. In exciting rapids like Exterminator, Cribworks, and the
quickly learned that I could easily be in over my head, but the
guides are experts and carefully selected to make the ride both
safe and exciting. It is 13 miles of pure adrenaline, yet I still
found the time to look up and enjoy the breath-taking scenery that
Before we even left
the training waters, one guest paddled himself out of the raft, and
we realized that rafting is not all about muscles or size. The white
water was in my face and I was soaked to the bone, but I managed to
stay in the raft. During the very little down time that the Penobscot
has to offer, I took the opportunity to go for swim in the white waters.
I left my reservations about fish and other marine life at home and
splashed around like a child. After the liberating experience of controlling
the waters, there was no time for fear of a few fish.
The Penobscot River has long been a popular spot for whitewater rafting,
but now Penobscot Adventures is kicking it up a notch and giving people
a chance to run the rapids without the boat. Itıs called riverboarding
and Penobscot Adventures is the only outdoor adventure company in New
England that does it.
After a day of rafting, my arms were tired and my back was tight, but
we set out to reach the shore of the Penobscot and get our first look
at the rapids from a boarderıs perspective. There were wetsuits, life
jackets, helmets, and even fins to go with the boards, but the view
was still intimidating. I didnıt know what to expect. Seeing the water
rushing and the white caps foaming looked dangerous; thatıs why the
trip started with a safety lesson. We learned about currents, and the
all-important signals; including the panic signal of waving your arms
frantically in the air it seemed pretty straightforward. With the
help of guides Karl and Mike, we finally began to tackle the whitewater.
The first step was to swim across the river against a powerful current,
which was not easy; it was more work than fun. The ride down the rapids
was intense; as the water smashed against my face and I missed the surf,
I became more and more comfortable with the frightening situation. However,
thereıs really nothing that can prepare you for a wall of whitewater
rushing at your head, and while itıs intense; I did it over and over
Riverboarding is relatively new in North America and I am now a member
of an exclusive club. But jumping off of the raft and grabbing a board
was nothing compared to the adventure that lay ahead.
There is nothing natural about falling 11,000 feet through the sky,
but I was going to give it a try with Skydive New England Jump and Raft.
The pages upon pages of waivers that I had to sign before I jumped only
proved skydiving is an extreme adventure sport. I had to sign my life
away, watch a video that stressed the fact that I could die, and watch
several other people take the plunge before I could jump myself, but
the technicalities could never outweigh the natural high of putting
yourself in the scariest situation imaginable and confronting that fear
My heart pounded in my chest as I waited for the 20 minute flight away
from Millinocket airport. If I thought about it, I wouldnıt do it. I
didnıt want to overanalyze the situation. I jumped at the idea of skydiving,
but now that I was in the plane, my inhabitations were taking over.
But the fear deep in my chest was part of the thrill. The door opened
at 11,000 feet and my instructor, Pat, told me it was time to go. Leaving
the plane was the hardest part, especially since I had a death grip
on the door of the plane, but free-falling through the sky at 200km/h
was exhilarating; it literally took my breath away.
The wind felt like a cushion of air suspending me in space; it was more
like I was floating than falling! Once the parachute opened, my instructor
and I glided gently back to earth and I could see everything that Maine
has to offer. Although the total dive time, from exiting the plane to
reaching the ground, was only six minutes, when I touched the ground,
I was on top of the world.
Leonardo da Vinci said, "For once you have tasted flight you will walk
the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and
there you long to return." Iıve even considered taking up a career in
skydiving. Adventure sports and the pursuit of adrenaline fuelled activities
has become an increasingly sought after diversion from the 9 to 5 monotony
of everyday life. Many people are embracing what nature has to offer
by doing things like skydiving, riverboarding, and whitewater rafting.
In the past, many people opted for just one adventure sport, but nowadays
most people not only take it to the skies or the river, but they combine
the two. Due to the massive uptake of extreme sports, many companies
are developing whole new concepts such as Jump and Raft. I canıt wait
to see what happens next.
© Lesely Boutilier September 2009
athenasamways at live.ca
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