We booked a deal for white water rafting with two free nights of camping through travelzoo.com. The deal was any day of rafting except Friday and Saturday, so we decided to camp Friday and Saturday nights and then raft Sunday and drive back to Pittsburgh, PA.
We had a nice fire with help with some of our friendly camping neighbors to get the fire started. We cooked once the fire go going. We stayed up drinking around the fire until 2am.
A Day of Climbing – July 23, 2011
The next morning we woke up and tried to find the breakfast. The campground was larger than we saw in the dark. Our camping discount included free breakfast, so we ventured to the dining hall. The free breakfast was fruit and some pastries and English muffins. The line was extremely long, so we decided to go to Cathedral Cafe. This was an amazing idea because we got to dine inside an old church. The atmosphere was climbers and outdoorsy people, which was fun company. After breakfast, we decided to head to Summersville Lake.
We hiked to the routes Andy planned on us climbing. The hike did not take too long, but it was hot and we were all drenched with sweat after the hike. It was fun though because we got to see rock faces to our left hand side and the lake on our right hand side. Justin, RJ, and Kristin decided not to climb at all. Everyone else (Tina, Rachel, Dave, Jenni, Kevin, Ed, Chad, Andy and I) attempted the first route called Jeff’s Bunny Hop. After Andy led the second route called That Eight, Both routes were sport routes rated 5.8s. Andy and I went swimming with the others back on the rock. We swam to the rock and jumped in a few times. The water was refreshing and not too cold. The three that had not been climbing were still there and Justin was burnt. After we swam, Andy left me with his pack and mine where we were swimming. He checked on the others while I waited. I found a mouse friend that decided to get a little too close, so I moved a little further away.
We then headed back to the campsite to shower quickly and head to dinner. We headed to Doglio’s to have some Mexican because Pies and Pints had a wait. We waited for 2 hours at Doglios before even getting a table. Then they sat us without giving us menus. During the wait, Justin basically passed out from heat exhaustion and dehydration. He didn’t have any water the whole day and was sun burnt. Fortunately, the staff allowed him to sit in their walk in cooler until he started feeling better. The food was good, but not worth the wait. I hope to go back there sometime with a smaller group of people.
We all went back and basically went to bed. A few stayed out by the fire for a couple of beers, but we had to be up early for rafting the next morning.
White Water Rafting – July 24, 2011
Finally what we have been waiting for! Rafting on one of the best white-water rivers in the U.S. and one of the top in the world as well! Andy and I woke up, started breaking down camp, and then headed to breakfast early to try to beat the line.
We then went back to camp and finished breakdown the tent and helped clean up. We then headed to the rafting meeting place where we waited for about an hour until the buses came and we could get our jackets, helmets, and paddles.
They were video taping our experience, which would later be fun to watch. They bussed us on a winding road when the guide told raft guide jokes. Some of them were decent. The drive was picturesque with the green mountains and the river winding. We then reached the loading station where we met LJ.
Justin, Andy, and I were in a small raft with LJ. He was fun. We rolled in the calm water after we loaded our raft in the water. We learned out to get into the raft from the river as well. It was a good experience. We then got to hit the class II, III, and IV(+) rapids. The water level was decently low, but we were able to surf the rapids. I have been rafting a few times before, but I had never surfed rapids on a raft before. It was really fun and where my group dumped out of our raft a few times. I swear after watching the video that LJ flipped our raft on purpose. We definitely had fun jumping of the jump rock. Andy actually did a flip. Rachel did as well by face smacked into the water. We swam through swimming rapids and through the slower river areas. The green mountains were high. We were able to see some rock walls as well from the rafts that Andy tried to identify. The experience was a great one. I definitely recommend this tour company.
We then went back and got our drink tokens to have a beer or soda after our long day of rafting. We made sure we packed up the Escape with all our camping gear and were ready for our long drive back. We hung out with some of the group and guides in the bar until they played the video. We then left around 6pm to head back to Pittsburgh.
It was a great outdoors weekend. The weather was a little hot for camping (high 80’s), but it did not stop us from having a great time!
Review of the campground
We had a decent sized group of campers. My first suggestion if you ever stay at River Expeditions is to get there early. They have few fire rings and picnic tables for the open fields where you can set up your tents. They have one functional bathroom with showers, which was pretty nice in the front of the campground. However, the tent areas can be far from the bathrooms. They do have portable bathrooms you can use, which were not terribly bad.