SOLON & BEYOND: Rafting on the Kennebec in the ‘old days’

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
Solon, Maine 04979

The only recent news I have received in time to get it printed is the following: Support your community. The Embden Community Center’s Neighbor Thrift Shop needs your help. Volunteers are needed in the Thrift Shop on Wednesdays 9 a.m. to noon, and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. All Thrift Shop proceeds support the ongoing maintenance of the Community Center. As a volunteer you will get a first look at the fabulous donations we receive and a discount on your purchases. Thanks so much Carol.

In order to get any news in on time, I have to receive it by Sunday.

Those of you who read this column, know that I have been going back in time to hopefully send out news of the Good Old Days that you might enjoy in these troubled times. This week this news was published in the paper that I was writing for at that time….. the Somerset Gazette, in Skowhegan, on October 8, 1993, entitled, Rafting & More The Kennebec River, by Marilyn and Chandra Rogers.

“It came right so that I could go down to the Evergreens Campground on Wednesday morning and watch as students from Carrabec High School started on their journey down the Kennebec. The river lay heavy with a cold fog as guides from Unicorn Rafting Expeditions made sure the 36 rafts were ready for the young voyagers about to arrive in their assigned school buses. As each bus arrived, names were called for the students to embark in raft number one and so on down through the numbers and students waded in, rather gingerly at times as the water was crisp that morning. Everything was very well planned and the students were great. I heard the guy calling off the names of the students exclaim, “This is fantastic!” Along with the fun and comradeship, the students learned of the importance of the river economically and environmentally to this region.

I wanted to get an idea of the trip through a student’s eyes so asked granddaughter, Chandra to write her views of this different learning process and she said she had thought of writing a letter so that you, the taxpayer, wouldn’t be disturbed at this new method of teaching and I think she puts it so well as she writes. (The following words are written by Chandra) … “Rafting on the Kennebec”…. When I first heard the idea of the whole school of Carrabec rafting the Kennebeck River, I was surprised and excited at the same time. The idea of a whole high school working together as one unit was something new and different at Carrabec.

The week started out with a day trip on Monday of traveling around the Kennebec region seeing sites of importance and landmarks. Mixed in alphabetical order, we traveled on several buses to different stops of interest. We then all learned about Wyman Dam, eating there at lunch. The last stop was at the Piper Farm. We had an entire tour and saw many demonstrations on the care of cows, soil nutrition, farming equipment and how the river affects the land and soil around the farm. The trip ended with everyone receiving a hayride back to the farm.

On Wednesday, everyone arrived at school dressed and ready to go in warm clothes for our trip down the river. We then met with our rafting crew and waited to be told to get on the bus. When they called my boat, #27, we received our lifejackets and paddles and started off. When arriving at Evergreens Campground we were directed to our boat and jumped in to start our trip. Working together, the students paddled along in the direction of the lead boat, which had a guide. Then we traveled along the gently flowing river for quite a time until we reached an island designated for eating the cookout lunch prepared by the cafeteria cooks. After relaxing and talking with friends, we shoved off to continue in the last hour of our trip. When we arrived at the dump road in North Anson, we paddled the rafts to the indicated finish line. Then the students worked together to dump the water out of their rafts and they were loaded onto a trailer.

The whole trip was great fun for everyone and taught us much about the river being a recreational resource and that teamwork can be developed even if you aren’t with your closest buddies. I want to thank everyone that was involved in making these two trips possible and taking that risk of doing something new and exciting to bring all the students at Carrabec together as one, Signed, Chandra Rogers.

Knowing, Chandra, I’m sure she did really enjoy that experience to its fullest!…… and you know, as I typed that whole 27-year-old report I thought of a brilliant idea! I’m going to tell Chandra that if I ever get the good sense to quit writing, or even before!) she should be writing……? what do you think, Roland?)

Now for a brief memoir from Percy: To know Love is to know Life; To give Love is to know Happiness.


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