Up until this summer, I didn’t even know it was possible to go rafting in Grand Falls.
Growing up in St. Alban’s, Grand Falls was the place to go when I needed to do some shopping. Home to Salmon Festival and the old Animal Land. And then Adventure Central Newfoundland sent me there this summer to do some exploring, and I changed my mind. I had one of the best meals I’ve ever had at 48 High, and met some fantastic people will exploring the Salmon Intreptation Center.
But it was the rafting that won me over.
I’ve done three different rafting excursions this year, in British Columbia, Newfoundland, and Peru. All three were amazing. But the most unlikely rafting trip, the Badger Run on Newfoudland’s Exploits River, still remains my all-time favourite, despite having the smallest rapids.
Why? It’s best to show you in photos.
We Laughed, a Lot
Even our training session was hilarious. Our guide kept pulling people over and placing them in awkward positions, and then he threw a rescue rope at me for a demonstration. I didn’t catch it.
“Wow,” Ange said. “You just died.”
I think this is the happiest I’ve ever been.
It Was a Full-Day Tour, Meal Included
My arms felt like rubber the next day, but by golly, I felt alive! We left before noon and didn’t return back at the site until around 6 p.m. It was more than enough time to play around, get to know the other rafters, and hit on the hot Hungarian guide. Plus we pulled ashore onto a rocky island for a midday lunch, served up picnic-style.
You’re Encouraged to Get Really, Really Wet
Each raft came equipped with a water gun. Yeah, I’d say we got wet.
My raft was in the lead, so at one point we took cover behind a giant boulder, climbed on top of it, and splashed the rival boats with ferocity whenever they came close. Then we did the obligatory paddle HIGH FIVE!
Then we had a chance to Ride the Bull. Getting stuck here is tricky business.
We Played a Lot of Games
Our guide was pretty imaginative. Every now and then, he’d stop to play a “game.” We were just starting to get to know one another when we pulled into a shallow section and were told to stand on the edge of the raft, hold hands, and walk around the raft’s full length. I kid you not. Apparently yoga isn’t helping my core strength or balance much at all, because I kept pitching headlong into the raft.
And yes, we did all end up falling in.
Another game: Our guide told us to take aim at a giant rock, paddle with all our might, and then all at once jump to the back of the raft. The aim was to flip the boat. Seriously.
We failed miserably but tried another time, and then decided we wanted to fight another raft. So we paddled towards them with murder in our eyes, collided, and still…didn’t flip.
We were lucky on the no flipping thing, though.
Getting Out of the Raft is Pretty Much Mandatory
At the Badger Chute, the river’s biggest rapid, you’re given the opportunity to jump, flip or somersault into the current to be carried on an insane ride down the river until you’re told to swim ashore. I didn’t do it, because I’m a baby like that. (Although I’d like to point out that I DID do this on the Peru rafting trip, so maybe someone should have pushed me.)
And then the guide pushes you out using your own paddle anyway.
If you’re in the area, definitely take this trip. Rafting Newfoundland gets two thumbs up from me.