I went July 4th weekend with a group of guys. We split up into two rafts. We bought sandwiches before we got there so we wouldn't have to buy their lunches. Before you board the bus to take you to the river there is a "crash course" on white water rafting. This was done outdoors. There were two sections for the tutorial, one shaded and one in the blistering hot sun. Guess which one we were in. Normally this wouldn't be an issue. But on this guy's weekend we drank a little too much the night before so the sun coupled with the personal floatation device strapped tightly on was not a good combo. Curt the guide kept the lesson "brief" but it turned out to be more along the lines of 30mins. We grab a 5 gallon storage/trash bucket and a bailing bucket along with a paddle and get on the bus. The bus driver expertly navigates through dense Pennsylvanian forest along tiny roads inches from a cliffside. Once we get out of the bus we are told there is a short walk to the water. I lost track of my pace count so I don't have an exact measurement but it was a good 12-15min walk. You are lined up and start getting rafts into water. (This is time consuming. Our group was over 100 people.) This is great. I'm dehydrated, exhausted, fighting the urge to either vomit or poop myself (I can't blame anyone other than me for my late night boozing, but you should know how I feel) so getting into the cool water should be refreshing. It's not! The water you get into is a small mountain creek that comes up to your thigh. It is frigid. Navigating your raft along this narrow creek is difficult. We get to the river and board up. Finally! After about an hour and half we are finally going to hit the rapids! The water at first is easy paced. Then you hit some easy rapids. I was having a great time! But shortly after they pull all the boats over. Curt explains the next set of rapids to us. The directions are difficult to hear depending on where you are in relation to him. Also the directions are easy enough to follow, but in the excitement of rafting they are easily lost once you hit the first set of rapids. But as long as you follow the boat in front of you then it's ok (granted they listened and retained the information). The rafting is exciting. The cool water splashing on you is refreshing. The frequent stops is frustrating. I was excited to get out of the raft and swim a bit. When we got to a slow part of the river the guides said we could get out. The second you get in the water it is time to get back in. After a couple of hours you pull over for lunch. Great! I'm starving! The 5 gallon bucket closed tightly still managed to fill with river water. Pass on river water turkey sandwich. When we stopped for lunch we had completed about 7 1/2 miles. Only 5 to go. The second leg has more challenging and exciting rapids. If the second leg of the rafting was the whole excursion I believe it would be an AMAZING trip! You finish your time on the Lehigh river and head back to base. Curt gave us an interesting lesson on Jim Thorpe. I arrived at 10:30 in the morning and got back to my car at 5:30PM. I was lead to believe that the whole rafting package was around 4 hours. The guides were great and friendly and once you hit the rapids it is a lot of fun. But the long lesson, long walk, and frequent stops are a pain. I would like to try white water rafting again but would most likely try another organization to see how they run their show. I would reccommend Pocono Whitewater for those looking for a full day event.
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