Environmental Education Center

W. Alton Jones Campus, 401 Victory Highway, West Greenwich, RI 02817-2158

altonjones@uri.edu – 401.874.8200 (p); 401.397.3293 (f)

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Northern Explorers


Rafting, Hiking and Floatplane Expedition 
Ages 14-17

Two trained expedition leaders will lead a maximum of nine participants, ages 14-17 on this northern exploration.  We will experience amazing scenery in northern Maine and enjoy some of the best whitewater rafting in the northeast.

Your expedition begins at the W. Alton Jones Campus where you will spend Sunday night.  During this time, you will have an orientation to the rules, enjoy a cookout, play games and do activities that will help you get to know your trip-mates.  You will learn more about the details of your trip and get all the equipment and food ready to go.  After an all-group campfire, you will head off for a good night’s sleep.

It is a long drive from Rhode Island to The Forks, Maine, so we will leave early Monday morning and drive about 7 hours in a 15-passenger van.  Once we arrive at our destination, we will set up camp at Moxie Outdoor Adventure Campground.  Moxie Outdoor provides base camping, facilities, guides, and activities just for groups and expedition programs like ours.

Tuesday and Wednesday we will spend rafting down different portions of the Kennebec River.  On the first day, we will funyak in single person inflatable kayak/rafts.  It’s not long after we launch our funyaks before the speed of the river begins to pick up and the waters begin to churn white.  The first day includes the challenging class II and III whitewater rapids on the Middle Kennebec River. Along the trip we will stop for a deli lunch and a hike to Moxie Falls, Maine’s highest waterfall.

On the second day of this whitewater adventure we will take traditional rafts through the thundering class IV+ whitewater rapids of the Kennebec Gorge! As we enter the steep granite walls of the gorge large waves can be seen ahead. From this point on the river plunges 12 miles through the gorge creating crashing standing wave rapids like “Big Mama”, “Whitewasher” and “The Alleyway”. The high point of the day is the run through class V Magic Falls.  While rapids will continue on and off throughout the day, there is also plenty of time for swimming and enjoying calm stretches of the river.

The evenings will be spent engaging in night hikes, campfires, and recreational time on Lake Moxie, which is in the backyard of our campsite.  Lake Moxie has free access to canoes, kayaks, and swimming.

But wait, that’s not all!.  Thursday will give us an opportunity to see Maine from a “bird’s eye” view.  We will hop on a floatplane that will pick us up on Lake Moxie and take us high over the trees and mountains.  We will see Moxie Falls, the river that we rafted down, the Appalachian Mountains and if we’re lucky maybe even a mighty Maine moose. The float plane trip will be an awe-inspiring way to bring our week to a close.  We’ll need a good night’s sleep Thursday since we will need to get up wicked early Friday morning for the return trip to Alton Jones.

At the end of each day, when we return to the campground, everyone will share in the responsibilities of getting water, cooking supper, and cleaning up afterwards. While camping out in Maine the group will learn and practice concentrated impact camping techniques. This involves camping in such a manner that will preserve the beauty of the area. This is achieved by carrying out trash, using biodegradable soap, respecting natural inhabitants, and properly disposing of human waste.  At Alton Jones, an emphasis is always placed on being as sensitive as possible to the natural areas that we visit.

Participants of the Northern Explorers Expedition should be in reasonably good physical condition that will enable you to hike, swim, and paddle sometimes more than six hours (with adequate rest stops).  If you are unsure of your physical condition, do some exercising before the trip.  Bike riding, jogging, swimming, push-ups, sit-ups, and lots of brisk walking are some good ways to get muscles in shape and build stamina.  All participants are expected to cooperate with fellow group members and leaders and abide by all safety rules.

In preparing for the expedition, you may want to spend some time thinking about why you have chosen this trip and what you hope to learn from your Northern Explorer adventure.  If you have never been rafting before, relax. Experience is not a requirement, but a positive attitude and a willingness to have fun while learning is!

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