The grand finale of our weekly summer series 'Wild and Wonderful Wednesday' brought us to the ASCI Whitewater Course in McHenry, Maryland. The USA Kayak and Canoe team held its time trials on the exact same course back in May.
"Welcome to the ASCI Whitewater course here in McHenry, Maryland," Michael Logsdon, ASCI Executive Director said. "What you're about to experience today is some class three or four Whitewater. We have about a one-third of a mile Whitewater course that drops about 24 vertical feet. So that puts it pretty high on the challenge level in terms of meeting the rapids."
First it was the water shoes, and then the life jackets.
When you are doing anything like this, safety is always first. The helmets are extremely important prior to going out on the water. But ASCI goes one step beyond a simple helmet. They offer a helmet with a Go Pro camera on top. The Go Pro is a revolutionary camera that serves as a 'head cam' of sorts, while you navigate your way through the rapids. At the end of the course, ASCI puts a video together for you and your family to have, serving as a memory for years to come. Helmets with the Go Pro camera are offered at $25.
"The ASCI Whitewater course is approximately one-third of a mile and 1700 feet in length. The water moves through here probably something on the order of 10 miles per hour. It varies according to whether or not the water is dropping over a rapid or going through a pool. But essentially you're looking at 10 to 15 miles per hour in speed. Now it seems like you're flying down through here, but in reality, it's really a manageable speed," Logsdon said.
"When an individual first decides to take a Whitewater trip, one of the first things they need to do is to trust their guide," Logsdon said. "Their guide is someone who is experienced in Whitewater paddling. They will educate them as to how to behave in the Whitewater, should they happen to fall out of the boat."
Speaking of falling out of the boat, Kelsey and I took a spill.
"Some of the feedback that we have experienced from our guests, is that they may have not known whether they wanted to do a Whitewater trip or not. They weren't sure if they wanted to go down a river. So they came here to kind of experiment and see if whether or not this is something they like. It's really set up to do just that: introduce them to the sport of Whitewater paddling, as well as some other adventure sports."
"We hope that if they like what they see here, then they'll transition to the private sector and take a trip down the Cheat River or the Youghiogheny River. Those are some nearby rivers that are known for their Whitewater challenge," Logsdon articulated.
The end result was soaked cast members, one lost paddle, and a memory that will last a lifetime.
The ASCI Whitewater Course is open every day of the week during the summer. The peak season is considered to be June 14 through September 2. For Whitewater Rafting, the prices are as follows:
Monday - Thursday ($55)
Friday - Sunday ($68)
Off-Peak (All Days - $50)