I’m fearless when it comes to eating. I will try anything once, not batting an eyelash while devouring creepy crawlies or raw fish. But when it comes to adventure sports, my knees start knocking. I’m a taste chaser, not a thrill-seeker.
When the opportunity arose to try white water rafting in Central Newfoundland, at first I was hesitant. Was this something I wanted to try? Would I live to see another meal?
But — as someone once said —you should do something that scares you everyday (ahem, bullshit), so I decided to jump on board and paddle.
Rafting Newfoundland has been riding the whitewater of the Exploits River for ten years now and is situated just outside Grand Falls-Windsor. Adam and I, along with bloggers Lauren and Jess from allyblog.com, met at base camp alongside Aspen Brook to prep for the trip.
We opted for the Badger Chute experience as it’s a family-friendly kind of rafting adventure. Paddlers of all ages and skill levels are able to ride this guided rafting trip. Even if you can’t swim or are nervous around water, the guides encourage everyone to come out for a ride. If you’re particularly adventurous, Rafting Newfoundland also offers a more heart-thumping journey the Canyon Run Rafting Adventure that’s basically a roller coaster of whitewater.
After a brief orientation by the raft guides, we geared up with helmets and lifejackets and boarded the bus to begin our adventure.
You need to wear clothing that is quick-dry (a bathing suit will suffice); you’re going to get wet, no matter what. The Badger Chute run requires a lot of in-and-out of the raft, so water shoes or sandals with straps are a must — you don’t want to loose them and have to walk barefoot over rough river rocks!
Phones and cameras of all sizes are encouraged to be left behind, so they don’t find a new home at the bottom of the river. The guides also teach a neat duct-tape trick so your sunglasses don’t float away.
All these images were taken by the rafting guides who have some mad skills at capturing all the fun that we had!
Let Geoff be your rafting guru
Each raft travelling down the river has a guide — we were lucky enough to get Geoff Orendorff, one of the owners of the rafting company.
We had 12 people in our raft, so there was a little training at the beginning to help people get the hang of paddling as a team and taking directions from Geoff. The guides sit at the rear and steer the adventure down the Exploits.
In addition to learning how to paddle, we learned out to get in and out of the raft, how to flip the raft, but mostly how to have fun! There’s lots of cajoling between the rafts, shooting water guns at other rafters and trying to soak each other (like I said, you will get wet).
Out of the raft and my comfort zone
I’m not nervous when it comes to water — I love to swim — but white water rafting put me out of my element. The rapids on the Exploits River are not death-defying, but if you aren’t careful they can be dangerous. Geoff explained most whitewater sits on a scale from 1 to 6 — 1 being a baby wave, 6 being Niagara Falls — and we did nothing above 3.
Then we hit the point in the trip where we all stop and jump into the rapids. Yea, that’s right: Rafting Newfoundland spices up the excursion with a swirly swim. Everyone was encouraged to jump into the rapids for a twirling ride down the river and an Instagrammable photo-op.
You know how your mother always asked you as a teenager “If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do it?” Sorry mom, I totally jumped. I was terrified at first, but then I saw a 10 year old jump off the rocks with ease so I knew I had to give it a go.
And just like that, I was in the water, downstream about 50ft.
It was so much fun!
We finished our rafting trip with a BBQ back at home base. Hot Dogs and Hamburgers taste pretty damn good after a day on the Exploits.
For anyone keen to test the waters of rafting, the Badger Chute is the ride for you! I learned valuable rafting skills and it pushed me out of my comfort zone in a really fun way. I’m by no means an adrenaline junky (my cheese addiction suffices), but I’m excited to try more outdoorsy things in the future.
Check out Rafting Newfoundland for a complete list of their awesome activities for your next trip to Central Newfoundland.