For those of us Mainers who love the outdoors, a significant transition marker every spring is the annual four day Reggae Fest at Sugarloaf Ski Resort. A fabulous outdoor event marking the coming of spring with the last days of spring skiing!! If you haven’t participated and you’re a lover of Reggae, skiing, boarding or the outdoors, GET HIP!!
In other miscellaneous news, Amtrak is offering $10 one-way adult fares between Brunswick (one stop past Freeport) and Haverhill, MA on the Downeaster weekends of April 12 & 13, and May 17 & 18. COME UP AND SEE US!! We’ll even pick you up and drop you off at the Freeport Station (call to make arrangements)!! We’re already pretty busy for that second weekend, so don’t wait to make reservations! AmtrakDowneaster.com/deals is the link to Amtrak, but my instructions read you need to call Natalie Bogart at 207-780-1000 x108 to make arrangements.
Ahhhh, WHITE WATER RAFTING, one premier wilderness Maine experience!! If you’ve not had one of these thrill rides, this year is the time! Rafting is a team event, with the in-raft guidance of your personal experienced guide, who is also your boss, calls out instructions and steers the raft. The three rivers we run in Maine, the Kennebec, Penobscot and Dead Rivers, are all dam controlled, and transit pristine wild, beautiful country. The first two are also the primary drainages for the state, the Kennebec enters the Gulf of Maine not far from here, and the mighty Penobscot carved out Penobscot Bay, an hour + east of here.
All full trips run about 4 or 5 hours and cover about 15 miles of river. Many companies run shorter ½ trips too. The Kennebec and Penobscot are run year round, depending on daily releases from hydro-elecrtic dams for the ride. The Dead is run a couple of weekends in the spring and fall, via flood control releases from Flagstaff Lake, east of Mt. Bigelow, across Carrabassett Valley from Sugarloaf, and is the only ride with consistent rapids the entire distance. The Penobscot run starts east of Moosehead Lake (just south of Baxter State Park), and as the river includes class 4 and 5 rapids, is the wildest ride of the three. Out family has rafted all but the Dead multiple times and will agree the Penobscot is the most intimidating, although many of it’s later stretches laze bucolically under the majestic Mt. Katahdin. Most of the rafting companies that run the Kennebec are quartered in The Forks on that River, and you get in below the dam at the West end of Indian Pond, which empties Moosehead Lake (which at 45 miles long is one big a– lake!).
YOU WILL GET WET, so a wet-suit rental is a good idea on all but the warmest days, as the water that emerges from the depths of these big damned lakes IS COLD! All rafting companies have them available, as well as including helmets and other safety equipment. Rides begin with a safety briefing and practicing your teams response to your raft Captains’ commands. Halfway down any trip, you pull over for a scrumptious grilled lunch, hot drinks and of course, the brews flow after any trip, as you watch videos of yourselves negotiating the rapids.
A Google search will produce a number of options, but a place to start might be www.northernoutdoors.com. Most of these are based about 2 hours north of Freeport, and the plan is for us to be your cony refuge after (or before) your adventure! Believe me when I tell you that you can’t have more thrills (& lunch) for under $100!!<