Arbitrary date was July 20th.
This is being moved to Aug 17th. It is the last viable date, since I did not have enough buy-in for an earlier date.
So I was kicking this around in my head, and I think it must happen. At least if people want it to happen.
I didn't tag this [East] or [Prime] since really, I don't care what PAX you attend- that you're down for storming the mountain and riding a raft through some gnarly water and playing a whole bunch of board games is enough for me. (Rafting optional)
, at least the first year. See the FAQ for realistic prices, as it will depend on participation.
If you're afraid to stay in a tent, you don't have to- they have fully-functional gorgeous cabins, and even a beautiful
available. Discussions on such things could commence at a late time- for now I'm wondering if there's enough interest to continue pursuit.
The Kennebec is Class IV, which means it's exciting, but not really dangerous. It's a very deep river, and falling in might mean it's a little scary, but injuries are reasonably rare. It is the "Beginner's" rapid in Maine, and anyone over 10 is welcome- parental approval required if you're under 18, and they MUST be present. They do not have to raft with you, but they have to sign the paperwork in person.
Whitewater rafting is one of my random passions, and it's really fun- it's a great day out going down a river, playing around in various currents, etc. Your weight / physical capabilities aren't important- it IS important that you tell your guide if you have any actual medical conditions (I always have to inform the guide myself, so don't worry so much about it) but other than that, it's pretty awesome- I've done the Kennebec with a 75-year old woman who had to wear a full-body "sunscreen" outfit due to a sun allergy before.
I can put together all the details, if there's interest. I've worked with Three Rivers for a long time, so I know they'll make sure to make it as awesome as they can- and they won't blink at us taking over the bar with board games as long as I warn them ;) Plus, if we get enough people, we can get the Uber Cabin, which holds 20(!) and has two fireplaces.
You don't have to raft to come, if that part really scares you- but it's highly recommended!
Q: I'm 17, can I...
A: Your parents or legal guardian MUST be present if you are under 18. They do not have to raft, but they have to sign the paperwork IN PERSON.
Q: How much dough is this going to cost? At least an Estimate?
Camping is very cheap- so assuming camping and 1 day rafting, UNDISCOUNTED would be about $131.
We will likely pay less than that, but it gives you a baseline.
If we get the Mega Cabin, it might cost a little more, but the awesome factor will increase.
Mega cabin requires at least 10- but it goes all the way up to 33. (Varies some depending on singles ratios and whatnot)
Q: What's the Mega Cabin Layout?
It is the Seboomook in this document.
Q: What's the Mega Cabin cost?
$35 a person per night on weekdays, $45 a person on weekends. May be able to get this reduced a little.
If your family gets its own cabin, prices are the same, but the minimum is 4 per cabin. They just don't have fireplaces and all the rest of the extras the Mega Cabin has.
Q: If we do get the Mega Cabin, what days will we get it on?
Friday night, Saturday night, and possibly Sunday night. This can be extended if people really want it to be, but I'm trying to keep it manageable for people- more days means more money.
Again, anyone can choose to camp instead of staying in a cabin on any night.
Q: If we get the Mega Cabin, but I choose to camp, does that mean I won't be allowed in?
No, it means you won't be able to sleep there- but you'll be quite welcome to hang out there and play games.
Q: What airports are available?
Best to fly to in Maine (Roughly 3 hours from The Forks)
Portland International Jetport
Best to fly to in Boston:
Logan Airport (Roughly 4 1/2 hours from Maine)
As people offer rides from different locations, I'll add more airports- but the most likely next one will be New York of some kind.
Q: Where the hell..
A: U.S. 201, The Forks, ME 04985
Q: I can't swim!
A: That's not a question. But I'll answer it anyway. You are legally required as a guest to be wearing 25 pounds of cost-guard approved flotation. We're doing the safest river there is in maine, and your swimming ability, while would be useful, is absolutely not required. To put it in perspective, this amount of flotation will easily pop a 600 pound person to the surface like a cork- it has a ridiculous affect on my slim frame.
Q: I have a disability...
A: That's okay. If you want to PM me and discuss whether you should go rafting or not, we can discuss it- but I can say that the very vast majority of the disabled will be able to go. As noted above, swimming is not required.
Q: You've posted a lot of crazy-sounding law-related stuff before, is X illegal...
A: I live in MA- MA has very strict laws. Maine... not so much. They're a lot more open to many things.
You still can't smoke inside the restaurant, though, and if you end up in a cabin with me, I'll politely ask you to smoke outside. I'm not certain if smoking in the cabins is allowed, but it's allowed on the decks, and the decks do have roofs, so you won't get rained on at least.
Q: What happens if it starts raining? Do we still raft?
A: Rafting stops only for lightning. Rain, downpours, snow... we still raft.
Lightning poses a serious health risk though, and they will pull over the boats, and if everyone is able, we'll hike to the highway. If not, those of us able will hike, and a guide will stay with the rest to keep them safe. The highway could me many miles away- so it's not super simple to just wander off.
Q: How many days would I be there?
A: Up to you. We'd be rafting on Saturday, so realistically, at bare minimum Saturday and Sunday.
I highly suggest people get to Maine early on Friday, and not leave until Monday, but not everyone has that kind of time available.
Q: If I'm really stingy with vacation time, when would I have to be there?
A: Before 2 AM Saturday Morning (Friday night). Rafting usually means getting up at 7 am, and being on a bus to the site by 8 am. Check-in times will vary from day to day though, and our check in could be as early as 7, and as late as 9. I won't know that until we pick a weekend. If you REALLY HONEST TO GOD can make it there at 7 am on saturday (due to living in Maine or whatever) that's okay- but generally you'll have to get there the night before.
Q: How long of a drive is it from...
Boston: 4 1/2 hours. LATEST SAFE FRIDAY LEAVE TIME: 9 PM
(I will add places as people ask them, and I calculate it out)
Q: I heard it's dangerous....
A: The company I go with has had no deaths, at all, in their entire time as a company- which is over ten years. Their guides are all certified with Maine, and all their equipment is checked before every run. You can check them out at Three Rivers Whitewater
if you'd like.
Most rafting deaths in Maine are heart attacks- Every single guide is First Aid certified (as am I), and several HAVE done CPR on a raft. It's not fun, but it can be done.
Q: If I have a...
A: If you have a serious heart condition, you should not go rafting. Portable defibrillators do NOT work when you are at all wet- this means that most rafting companies don't even carry them, because they're actually useless in the times they would want them. You are still welcome to come, and if you insist, you can raft- but I strongly suggest against it.
In most other cases, you can go without serious worries.
Q: I'm pregnant / may be pregnant / am trying to get pregnant and..
A: You can't raft. This a full-stop decision of the company- no pregnant woman, or reasonably likely to be pregnant woman, is allowed to raft. You can still come, and you can game- but you can't go down the river. Sorry!
Q: How would I get there?
A: I will be driving up from Boston, and I'll be able to help somewhat. I'm sure many others will be able to accommodate flights out of Portland ME, Logan International, or New York. Failing that, car rentals still work, but I'm pretty sure if we have enough interest, we'll be able to minimize travel damage- after all, the best flight locations aren't common destinations (Like Portland), so they REALLY want to fill those planes.
Q: I have a pilot's license and..
A: Well aren't you lucky! There actually is an airport nearby that is owned by a partnered company. If this really does occur, and you want to fly yourself, PM me and I'll put you in touch with the right people.
There's also an airport about 45 minutes north
- but you'd have to pay a small fortune to charter a flight into it.
Q: Do I need a ton of gear?
A: No, you can eat at the Bar and Grill if you want the whole weekend, or the Inn by the River... and if you get a Cabin or the Inn, then you won't need much at all. See the website for details.
Q: What are these.... flying blood-sucking beasts?
A: Maine has lots of flying biting bugs. Mosquitos, Black Flies, Horseflies... Per Captain Spaulding II:
Another tip: bug spray. I know a lot of people get concerned about deet and try to use all natural bug sprays and the like. I value the logic in this approach but I also have experience with Maine's state bird, The Mosquito. If this trip happens during July, you will be catching the end of black fly season. Imagine a large swarm of fruit flies that bite and leave mini mosquito bites all over you. This season requires the use of a Bigger Gun. Aerosol Off Deep-Woods is pretty much what you need just to keep them at bay.
I've personally resorted to 100% deet on some occasions.
Q: Will the water be cold?
A: Maybe. Early July- yes. Late July? Toss up. It's too hard to predict New England weather unfortunately.
Though I've seen it get down into the 40's during particularly strong cold fronts in the summer, typical summer weather ranges from the 70's to low 90's. This is during daylight though. Expect it to get down into the 50's-60's at night. If you're gonna tent make sure you bring something a little more than that square sleeping bag you used to use in middle school for sleepover parties
Q: What is this giant thing with horns?
A: That is a Moose. Or multiple Moose. (Yes, the plural of Moose is Moose.) And you are reasonably likely to see one without trying- and extremely likely if you do try!
I may or may not be in the area when this happens due to work, but if I am I would be more than willing to lead people in excursions to look for Moose for those who have never seen one before. They generally come out to the roads around dusk to get relief from the mosquitoes and flies that swarm about that same time. Also, on that note, if you are heading north on 201 in the late-afternoon - evening stay alert on the road. Moose are not very bright animals and unless you're driving a semi, your car will not win out in a collision. Many many more people die in that part of Maine from moose collisions than rafting accidents.
Q: Is it pretty?
A: Oh my god yes. Beautiful scenery all around. The water, the trees, everything is awesome.
If I haven't scared you out of the trip yet, let me win you back. The area of wilderness around The Forks is a true gem of North America. It is nestled in the southern portion of the largest stretch of forest in the US east of the Mississippi. There is more wildlife and scenic views than any of you or myself have ever seen. Look it up on Google Maps, outside of rt 201 the only roads are dirt logging roads and they go for miles and miles.
Q: Can I fish?
A: Yes! You will need to obtain a Maine fishing license, but that's about a 10-minute drive from where we'll be. If you're staying longer than just the weekend, Three Rivers will even take you out if you want.
Q: Basic directions from the south (Boston, New York, Etc)?
A: Take Interstate 95 to Exit 133 (Formerly Exit 36) (Skowhegan/Fairfield). Continue north on Rt. 201(57.5 miles) through Skowhegan, Solon and Bingham. Approximately 20 miles after leaving the town of Bingham watch for the flashing Moose Sign. You are exactly 4.8 miles from “The Home of Serious Fun” and Kelley Brook Campground.
Q: How much dough is this going to cost me?
A: Rafting itself is a base cost of $99, before discount. I will definitely be able to get us a 10% discount, but size of group will determine if I can push that higher- it's been known to go as high as 30%. Lodging will vary drastically- if you're cheap, you can camp for $10 a night. If we get the Mega Cabin, I have no idea what it'll cost- I've just never done it! But it would be awesome.
Rafting includes a snack on the river, and a dinner/lunch thing (around 3:30-4 pm) when we get back to base after rafting.
Food is cheaper than the BCEC, but it's still being prepped for you if you buy it from the bar and tavern or the inn by the river.
Q: I want to burn stuff...
A: They hold gigantic bonfires every night, and you can light up your own fire too if you want on your campsite or cabin site.
Q: Do I need to bring/rent a wetsuit?
A: Wetsuits are rented by the piece- $5 each. So booties are 5, the "farmer john" (wetsuit overalls) are 5, and the jacket is 5. Depending on water temp, they will recommend OR REQUIRE
certain pieces. If you bring your own, and they require a piece, you're free to wear your own- but the requirements are based on safety. If the water's 40 degrees, they're going to make you wear a wetsuit. The maximum cost for this is $15.
Q: Is it really likely that they'll require me to wear a wetsuit?
A: A lot of people rent booties, even when it's hot. It means you can't lose your shoes in the river, and you don't have to worry about footgear.
Realistically, they are reasonably likely to recommend that you take a jacket if you get cold easily, if we go in late July / Early August.
Q: Will the Cookie Brigade show up in any capacity?
A: At the very least, I will take donations to Child's Play on behalf of the Cookie Brigade, but I don't bake. If any Cookie Brigaders sign up and want to make cookies, they are 100% encouraged to!
Q: How much game space would we really have?
A: Lots! If we don't get the mega cabin, they have a ton of large tables, and at every lodging option there's at least one picnic table.
If we get the Mega Cabin.. well, it's nuts huge. Deck, multiple indoor tables, two bathrooms.. Basically at that point we're having our own super awesome party.
Q: Can we bring our own liquor?
A: Sure! It just can't be brought over to the Bar and Grill. It's fine on any campsite.
A: Unfortunately, the land we will be on will not allow fireworks.
Q: For clothing...
A: On the river, you absolutely cannot wear anything cotton. This is for your safety- Wet cotton chills you quickly, and is very heavy.
When it's booked, Three Rivers Whitewater will send us a gear checklist that I'll post here- but really the super important part is no cotton. As noted above, you can rent booties so footwear isn't absolutely needed.
Current interest (used just to generate feasibility numbers and planning at this time):