MCS, NCS students brave the rapids

The Bus Stop, Elephant Rock, Gunsite in and Gunsite out, Big Nasty and Little Nasty. These fun names really are full of meaning, but probably only if you've spent time in a large rubbery raft or kayak while paddling down the upper Hudson River.

A trip down the 17-mile stretch of the Hudson River from Indian Lake to North River is one of those adventures that everyone who lives in the Adirondacks should have.

I did, on Sunday, June 14. This was my fourth time down the river, but I still learn or relearn stuff, including: don't bring anything that shouldn't get wet (like a camera of any kind), know your left from your right (very important), and be ready to work with your raftmates on paddling together. Also, when the guide yells "paddle hard forward right!" and you're sitting on the right side of the raft, do it right away.

A group of five students from Minerva Central School -Giuliano Coco, Sam Kelly, Lisseth Mendoza, Chris O'Connor, Travis Salisbury - and one from Newcomb Central School - Garrett Norris - and I took the plunge and headed down the Indian and Hudson Rivers with Heath Bromley, an experienced guide - with a great sense of humor and adventure - with the Hudson River Rafting Company based in North Creek. This was the first rafting trip for the students, and it turned out to be big-time fun for all.

Salisbury, observed: "I've lived in Minerva for eight years, and I don't know why I've never done this before - it's great!".

With the uncommon amount of rain recently, the river's daily "bubble" from the Lake Abenaki dam brought water levels up, way up. The water that day was warmish, and it was moving quickly. I discovered this post-lunch after falling out of the raft while passing through some river rapids that may have been of a "class 4" persuasion. Once in the water - with my PFD and helmet, both required equipment, thank goodness - and away from the raft, the river proceeded to shoot me what seemed about 40 mph through some heavy-duty rapids. It didn't take long for Heath to throw me a lifeline, and I was picked up by another raft traveling with us. It was a neat experience, despite a somewhat distressing feeling of not being totally in control of my near future.

The weather cooperated fully for us, with the temperatures around 70, some breeziness, and no rain. We were wet on a nearly constant basis as we made the trip past Virgin Falls, the Blue Ledges, Kettle Mountain, and beneath the train trestle. Taking a rafting ride down the Indian/Hudson Rivers is an amazing way to get out, get wet, and get an intimate feel for how beautiful our part of the world really is. If you've been thinking of taking a rafting trip but keep putting it off, it's time to get out there - it's a wonderful thing.

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