Raft the Adirondacks: Step by Step
The full breakdown of your experience from start to go!We've been rafting in northern New York for decades and still, each day is brand new. Why? Because we get to spend the day with a new group of guests! We have the system down, we know the plan. Still, it might seem a little confusing to a first timer.
Let's break the day down for you
Step one, get a good breakfast.Many of our guests come down from Lake Placid. We can suggest Downtown Diner for a great hearty breakfast before driving to Indian Lake. Or if you prefer eating along the way, Lumberjack Inn is another great breakfast spot down in Tupper Lake.
Step two, find the base!
Cell coverage can be spotty along the route. You should consider getting your GPS signals straight before you head out and leave the 21st century. Our cozy river base is located at 100 West Main St., Indian Lake, NY. It takes about an hour and a half to get here from Lake Placid, and about an hour from Lake George. You'll see our rafting buses in the parking lot.
Step three, check in.
After Dennis, our kind utility man, shows you where to park you can come right in and visit with us at the front desk. We'll greet you and check you in, you can let us know about any changes in your group size. You'll have the option at this point of renting wetsuits for your group. Here's our liability waiver form to print out and fill out ahead of time if you're feeling extra-organized.
Step four, get fitted for wetsuits.
If you rented wetsuits, you'll be directed to head over to our wetsuit room where you will find a few guides sizing people up and handing our neoprene jackets and overalls (aka, farmer johns.) Trust the guides, they usually know what size you are just by looking at you. After you try it on - if it doesn't fit right - bring it back and the guides will try to find you a different size.
Remember this rule: Don't wear any cotton underneath your wetsuit! It negates the effectiveness of the wetsuit and can make you colder.
Step five, get changed.
There are two changing rooms just outside the bathrooms. Just close the curtains and change into your non-cotton thermals and wetsuit (in early Springtime) or into your swimsuit (in Summertime.) You're going to need footwear with a strap, or sneakers to go rafting. Flip flops are not allowed and Crocs are strongly discouraged.
We sell thermals, swimsuits, water shoes and non-cotton rafting shirts if you forgot anything.
Step six, get a PFD (personal floatation device.)
Some of the guides will be outside at our PFD shed handing out what you might call LifeJackets. We call them PFDs, or Personal Flotation Devices. The guides will hand them out, help you put them on and tighten them down to within an inch of your life because they need to be snug. Ask a guide why. They love answering questions, you might even hear an amusing anecdote about life on the river.
Step seven, get a paddle and a helmet.Say "Hi," because this is usually my job! I'll be handing out paddles based on your general height, and I'll point out the helmet bins. You'll ask me, "Are they all the same?" And I'll tell you, "No, they three different colors." And we'll laugh and laugh. The helmets are all universally sized, you just need to adjust the straps inside the helmet and they will literally fit anyone.
Step eight, listen to the safety speech.
One of our guides, usually the loudest, will describe the trip and explain our safety procedures. We'll let you know what to expect and what's expected of you. Everyone is worried that they will fall out of the boat, and we'll let you know what to do in the rare event that you end up going on a little unplanned swim. Note - This step sometimes happens after the bus ride.
Step nine, get on the bus.
We have a few bus drivers, two of whom are members of the Rafferty family. They'll drive you down to the put-in (the place that we start the rafting trip.) It's about a 5 minute ride from the base to the river.
Step ten, meet your guide.
Once we get to the put-in, we'll break you up into groups and introduce you to your guide. You may have already met them back at the base! Each of the guides have an individual style and will give you some instructions about how to paddle, when to paddle and other helpful tips.
Step eleven, carry the boat down to the water.
Your raft is full of air, it's not that heavy. Your group will assist the guide in carrying the raft down to the water. Don't worry, if you have a small group then you also have a smaller, and slightly lighter raft which will be easier to carry down to the water!
Step twelve, go rafting.
This is the fun part. Go get wet, get wild and paddle the Adirondacks.