Being an ardent fan of trekking and nature being more close to my heart, than the cities, monuments and history,I always wanted to have some adventure trip in US. Had taken ample citi tours by now and those museums are no longer amusing me. Had heard about Pocono some time back, but never got a chance to plan a visit. Luckily met Aditya, in Citibank itself, who had done white water rafting in Pocono before. Well my adventure plans blossomed like fall colors, and I grabbed that opportunity with no second thought.
Aditya could not make it, at the last moment, but we got two rain checks from one of his friends. On saturday morning we were all set for our trip to Pocono. We had got GPS from Suresh and as usual we just filled in our destination and started our journey. It was quite later we realized that Suresh had avoided all the highways in the GPS options and its going to take 3 solid hours to reach our place, which otherwise would have been just one and half hours.
But this proved to be a blessing in disguise, coz the GPS took us though the most scenic roads in New Jersey and Pennysilvania. The climate was quite wonderful, as it had rained the earlier day and we were enjoying the pleasant breeze and the mist spread across the mountains. Although we were getting quite late, as our rafting was about to begin at 12, we coudn’t help enoying this coutryside ride. This was the first time I could see the beauty of american villages with the cattles grazing in the green farm lands and hens, horses and goats in the front yard. One thing that I loved about this country is the kind of cozy and beautiful houses that they have. Since it was halloween many of those houses had those wonderfully decorated pumpkins at their front doors. The orange color of these pumpkins is quite catchy.
Some part of our jouney was admist thick forests and we could in fact see few deers crossing across the road. Although it was not the peak fall season, we could see those shades of orange, red and yellow sprinkled all across the the forest. The experience of, so much talked about, fall was quite picturesque and watching all those colors all the way across the forests and spread all across wide lanscapes, creates a kind of artistic delight in your mind and every angle is worth nice postcard kinda picture. For somebody like me who have always been amazed by the wonders of nature, this was more than a treat to the eyes. I was making all the efforts to catch that beauty in my handicam as our car zoomed across those winding roads, up and down the hills of pocono.
We were quite on time and after registering our names and filling up few forms were given those yellow cards. After dressing up for the occasion (Shorts,T-Shirts) and putting on safety jackets, we were asked to leave all our belonging in the car. The amosphere was quite live with the group next to ours was getting ready for their turn and there was that buzz , with the experienced ones giving few tips to the first timers. In fact one of the guyz out there suggested me to rent a special suite, available out there, as the water is generally quite cold. But then I decided to stick to my traditional attire of trekking rather than getting little high tech on that part.
We got chicken sandwitches to get some energy, before embarking on that day long adventure. As they called our group and instructed, we were asked to form a group with others,as we were just two, luckily we got a group of four others, in fact two gujju couples, who readily decided to form a group with us. We elected Grishma as our captain, and a instructor who called himself as Milkman, gave us all the safely instructions , like, what to do if you are stuck at a rock, or happen to fall into the water and stuff like that.
After picking up the paddles and the boxes for packing our lunch as well as few tumblers to remove water from the raft, we got into a bus, ready to take us to the starting point. The bus dropped us at the moutain top from where our great adventure was going to start. All of us were required to carry our raft to the starting point. And finally, there we were, at the starting point, all set , with the raft in the water and having taken our lessons on paddling , just ready to go. Was a great moment, finally we were actaully embarking on our voyage. Made me kinda esctatic and although it was a small trip, the joy was no less than , probably when columbus left the shores of spain 🙂
So starting at 1 pm and the ending at 5 pm, our jouney was full of adventures. Few accidents, few head on collisions, few dashing of rafts and a lot of scenary. Our crew was probably the most inexperinced one and in fact we didn’t ever miss a single rock. Probably we got so fond of them that we used to get stuck at each one of them, But then we got our expertise in handling the rocks. There were many groups having different expertise levels, but everyone faced some or the other problem as our difficulty levels kept on increasing with class 1, class 2 , class 3 rapids. The milkman and his crew kept on guiding us as they showed their kayaking skill moving briskly arround us.
The peak of this event was when I got emmersed myself in the free flowing water. In fact I coudn’t even realize how it happened. My raft, which was quite at speed,hit a rock. I was actaully facing in the opposite direction, when we hit the rock. The time I know that I am in water, fully emersed, the raft had already gone few meters away and I was stranded in the middle of the river. I was asked to swim down to my raft ,which got stuck at some other rock a few meters away. A kayakar helped me out by asking me to hold down to the back of his kayak and guided me to my raft through the river. So I had already begun the adventure with a big bang and there were few more events, when few of my crew memebrs also enjoyed similar treat as we hit rocks in class 3 rapids.
The whole day was quite eventful, with few water fights with water guns. The moutains were scenic and I managed to take few snaps even there, thanks to the waterproof camera from wallmart. We had a small break for lunch, but otherwise everyone was required to keep paddling all the time, and the results were quite apparent, the next day, as it became literally difficult to lift , any of our limbs 🙂 . The shoulders were quite in pain and we coudn’t even sit, as the legs were equally in distress.
But in all a very fulfilling experience and lot of fun for people loving adventure and water sports.
Enjoy the action through my Sony H50