I’d been promising my daughter to do something “fun” for awhile now and it was time to fulfill that promise. I also had my 13 year old son, (who has an affinity for non-stop video game action), to tag along. The plan was to arrive on a Saturday, camp the night, and then Whitewater Raft the Kennebec River in the morning. What happened next was not what I expected, it was way better.
Aerial Tour of Kennebec River
Whitewater Rafting on the Kennebec – We chose North Country Rivers situated near the Forks in Bingham Maine. They seemed to have the accommodations we were looking for, and are well known for adventurous trips . We booked the overnight stay and made reservations by calling 207-672-4814.
We have a big tent, so thought we would bring that, but upon booking, found out they had these platform tents, so decided to stay in one of those for the night.
Packed up car…
Basically we travelled north on I – 95, to Waterville and then had to take a left on Route 201, which takes you straight into Bingham, through Skowhegan. Since we we had some time, we decided to visit the Colby Museum of Art in Waterville. The museum is free and open to the public. Inside we saw works from Bernard Langlais, and Louise Dodd. We made a quick tour, and the artwork was inspiring.
We also made a stop a few miles down on Rt 201 in Skowhegan and saw the World’s Tallest Indian (a wooden giant also made by Bernard Langlais). The wooden statue is to honor the Maine’s Abnaki Indians, and is currently under a much needed restoration, we can’t wait to come back and see it!
We made it to Bingham and North Country Rivers, in a little over two hours due to the stops. North Country Rivers is actually really easy to find due the signs and the fact the site is an actual active airport called Gadabout Gaddis airport. More on that later…
We checked in around 3pm.
Made camp, and cooked dinner.
We also saw the tail end of a North Country Rivers ATV tour .
We made a pitstop into the Lodge, where the Restaurant and Patricks Pub is located, and the kids found the game room.
We also met the owner Jim Murton!
Then decided to go for swim, when all of a sudden a swarm of Piper airplanes landed on the grass strip. These looked like bush planes, from all over, and was a treat to see. We spoke to some of the pilots, and before we knew it, they took off and provided us with a private air show. Other campers, cabin dwellers and staff looked on as well.
I found out the Bingham airport has quite a history, its namesake Gadabout Gaddis was the star of a 1950’s Fishing show called “The Flying Fisherman“. He flew around the US filming a different location in each episode. The airport was his. I couldn’t find any of the shows on YouTube, just some articles and photos. If anyone has anymore info on Gadabout please comment. He was a famous outdoorsman from Maine.
We swam in the river by our camp, a few hundred yards from some fly fishermen (Rainbow Trout and Salmon), and made campfire marshmallows by the “Supermoon” eventually crashing in the platform tent. The sleep was interrupted by mosquito’s at various times, which was very unpleasant for the kids, I mean, what did we really expect camping in the Maine wilderness next to a river. We probably should of brought repellent or citronella candle or something.
During the night the river seemed active with boats, and I swore I heard a moose.
North Country Rivers offers Moose Safaris, which embark around 5:30pm .
We arrived for a day of rafting on the Kennebec at 8:30 at the lodge (which had complimentary coffee) and was geared up with lifejackets, paddle and helmet. Wetsuits were offered complimentary for the kids, though the weather was warm so didn’t need them. The bus took us to Harris Station Dam (Indian Pond) (which is hydroelectric dam and releases water flows at various times), we hit a water flow of 4800 cubic feet per second, which was perfect. Our guide Cory, took us and two others from Boston to the banks of the Kennebec and off we went!
Cory guided us to every rapid possible, hitting and turning the raft into the best possible spot. Nobody fell off, but we all got really wet. the kids enjoyed the rapids, as well as the swimming opportunities. Best of all, was our guide Cory made the experience feel safe as well as very informative. During our rafting trip we pretty much had everything, from big waves to smaller and we even surfed a couple holes which was fun. The maneuverability of the raft was spot on. The guide Cory spends his summers at The Forks, and winters at Big Sky in Montana, what a life!…
Our trip down the Kennebec was complimented with a BBQ Lunch of steak, chicken or veggie burgers, pasta salad, cookies and lemonade.
The trip was my third time, and the kids second, down the Kennebec, and was such a good time. The Forks are named for the location of Kennebec and Dead River meeting together. I learned a bit about the Dead River stemming from Flagstaff Lake, which has certain water flow dates in which to raft, next time we will check that out. North Country Rivers has rafting trips for Kennebec, Dead, and Penobscot Rivers.
We were back home Sunday afternoon, exhausted and mission accomplished.
We will be back, thank you North Country Rivers and owner Jim Murton!
Visit North Country Rivers this summer!
North Country Rivers www.northcountryrivers.com 1-888-211-9023
36 Main St.