Riverfront Chalets and Rafting Newfoundland, just outside of Grand Falls - Windsor (that's all one town), sounded like just the spot to tame some wild water.
While we have had some experience with river rafting, the safety briefing was making it clear that what we were about to encounter was a whole lot more water than in our previous escapades.
Hiking down to the Exploits River
We received instructions on how to lock our legs under the seat in front of us in hopes of staying aboard the boat, and in case that failed, we learned the finer points of ducking down onto the floor and hanging on like terrified spider monkeys.
Screaming like one is optional, but most likely unavoidable.
OK, so we may have to go into a protective fetal position, bu it beats bobbing in the rapids... wait, what? How to properly bob in the rapids was the next lesson.
Keep your head up, look for the boat, try not to slam into any huge rocks, grab the rope... got it!
Just to make sure we were all cool with the drill, the first thing we had to do was jump off a cliff into the freezing water, just to get comfortable with the idea of getting slung out of the boat.
We were beginning to wonder why we even had a raft, this was sounding more like it might be whitewater swimming.
Truth is, it was all for our own good, better to be safe than sorry and the crew was proud of their safety record. They haven't lost anyone yet and weren't about to start with us. So we dragged our soaking butts aboard the raft and began paddling.
Nothing to it, until we started aiming for the rapids. Then we started rowing like our lives depended on it, and it wasn't hard to convince us of the possibility. Even though the current overwhelmed us, rowing like crazy was our only hope of any control over our path.
After surviving the first couple runs we began to feel safer, and maybe even a little cocky. Our trusty guide took that to mean it must be time to bury the nose of the raft right into the teeth of a huge wave. While this certainly seemed crazy, we were all grinning like idiots and, due to our training in hanging on for dear life, no one went overboard.
When we finally made it to some calm water everyone enjoyed a swim, going into the water by choice. This also gave us a chance to take in the gorgeous countryside of The Exploits Valley.
As tired as our arms and backs were from frantic paddling we still would have gladly started all over again.
David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com
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