The Black River Gorge rafting trip is 8 miles of Class III+ rapids. It starts in downtown Watertown and ends in Dexter, NY. There is a short trip for those who don't want the extreme rapids. Those rafters choosing the short trip get off after the first 3 sets of rapids. This is one of those first 3.
We started with 9 paddlers and our guide. This was our guide's 2nd summer on the river. Not only did he keep us from flipping, but he gave us a great history of the town, the area and the industries which grew up along the river. Did you know Watertown was the location of the first papermill in the U.S.?
We made it through the rapid and now it was time to say "hooray"
The last of the 3 rapids allowed our guide to 'surf'. After coming down through the rapid frontways, he brought us back around and we went into the rapid facing upstream. When he could get us in the right position we could stay put, surfing so to speak on the waves.
We have now stopped and let Rellene off after the first 3 sets of rapids and it is just 8 paddlers and our guide. The guide informs us the previous 3 rapids were just for practice.
Coming down through one of the rapids. There were 6 boats, all with at least 6 paddlers, most had 8. You had to be at least 14 years of age to complete the full trip. Anyone under 14 had to get off at the short trip stopping point. Out of all the boats only 2 teenagers fell out. One was immediately pulled back in his boat, but it was our raft which rescued the other teen from the rapids. He had minor cuts and bruises, but he was able to complete the trip.
We all got wet on this rapid.
Even the guide hit the deck as we went through this one. After the first 3 sets of rapids, we had 8 more sets of rapids to go. Halfway through we stopped for a snack and we had to portage the rafts over a 20+ foot spillway.