Poconos Adventure Trip – Day 3
Saturday was another adventure day for us – this time white water rafting! Saturday was cooler than the previous day so we bundled up and tried to be as waterproof as possible knowing we’d spend the day pretty damp.
As I mentioned before we had booked both the biking and the rafting through the same company, Pocono Whitewater. Once again the company’s organization impressed me. We arrived at the base camp and found hundreds of people who were also preparing for their adventure. We had a set reservation time but it seemed that they took people first come first serve. We went to one desk to check in where we were given color coded cards based on our reservation time, one desk to sign waivers, another spot to pick up life jackets and then another spot to buy the pre-made picnic lunches. Once we were ready we were pretty much just ushered into the debriefing area where the guides quickly paired us up with some other small parties to fill our boat.
Our group consisted of five people. There was a 20-something guy named Jon from State College who was traveling by himself for the weekend doing white water rafting followed by skydiving the next day. He must have had some issues to work out. We were also joined by a mom and her 14 year old son who was also named Jon. Teen Jon was a bit sulky and not a great help to the group. He would go from not paying a bit of attention to suddenly jumping in and paddling like crazy in the wrong direction. His mom also wasn’t the best paddler. So that left Single Jon, Little Star and I to move the boat along.
After the debriefing we got on a bus and were driven to the top of the river. From where the bus let us off there was quite a hike to the boats down some rocky mountain side. We picked up our boats and had to carry them another bit to the water. This was not an easy task and we were one of the smaller groups so had less help carrying.
The greater group consisted of about 20 boats with 5-8 people each and 4 guides in their own kayak boats. The rapids were class II and III although I would say it was more of the IIs and a few IIIs. While I think Pocono Whitewater does their best I’m not sure I would recommend rafting in the Delaware River Gap in general. The water was very rocky and shallow. We spent more time pushing ourselves off of rocks than actually rafting. Other experiences I’ve had with rafting you had a guide in the boat with you who would steer you away from the rocks, we just kept getting hung up on them. The group was also so large we spent a lot of time waiting for people to catch up.
My other big concern was that they did not provide helmets. While the rapids were not particularly strong there were lots of small kids in the boats who couldn’t hold on well and would fall out when the boat hit a rock. There were so many rocks in the water I was terrified someone would hit their head.
We had one scary experience, not because of the rapids but while we were stuck on a rock. We got ourselves so stuck a guide had to come help us and told us all to get out of the boat and push and then leap back in when it got going. While we were pushing half the boat went under the water and the boat started filling up. I think I spent most of the trip after that just bailing water out of the boat. There were also a lot of people in other boats just throwing water at each other which I found annoying, especially since we were trying so hard to stay warm in the chilly temps.
After about two hours of rafting we stopped for lunch. In the morning we had bought our lunch from their cafeteria. They have a bunch of pre-made subs and they pack them up with chips and cookies into zip lock bags for you and are quick “grab and go” meals. To bring them on the boat we put everyone’s lunch in big 5 gallon buckets with a lid and sealed it up. Everything stayed mostly dry. So we stopped to eat our lunches at a clearing in the trees by the river (not far from where we saw the bear the prior day!) We also took a break to use the “fascilitrees” if necessary. In other words, pee in the trees!
After lunch it was only a short raft back to the finish line. We did have one mishap on the way where two gentlemen fell out of their raft and their party kept going. About 30 minutes later the guide had the whole group stop while she had to walk back up on the path to find the men. No clue why the rest of their boat kept going and abandoned them. Maybe they were the ones throwing water!
Once we finished the rafting and got off the boat we had to take another bus back to our base camp where there was a nice bonfire going. We tried to warm up a bit after being out on the chilly water all day. We didn’t stay too long as we had to hurry back to the hotel for massage time.
Little Star had arranged a massage at the hotel spa in the afternoon and I planned some quiet time in my room with my book. It was a good time to relax after the adrenaline rush of the white water rafting and to rest our sore muscles from all the activities.
While we were resting we could hear some live music playing somewhere. We decided to go out and explore a bit and see what it may be. As it turns out the hotel had opened a new patio area where I think they probably host weddings and were inaugurating it with a band. The band was great and were playing a lot of cover songs and we sat and enjoyed for some time. They even had a bar on the patio and a dance area where some younger kids were dancing to the music. The atmosphere was perfect for resting on a summer evening.
After a bit we got chilly and were just too tired to venture out to find dinner. We went into the hotel bar and ordered some food. The menu was typical bar food and the dishes were all fairly average. I wouldn’t recommend the food but like breakfast sometimes the convenience is worth it.
True to our typical vacation style we needed to fit one more activity into the evening. There was a bonfire outside and the hotel was selling s’mores kits. We bought two packages and headed outside. While the sentiment and atmosphere was great I was disappointed that the hotel charged $5 for a graham cracker, stale marshmallow and piece of chocolate. After a couple of bites it was time to pass out.