Camping at the Saco River - My Family Travels

Five people and one clearly possessed dog. That was how my summer started out.

I live in Charlotte, North Carolina so I rarely see my family who live in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. However, in one moment of nostalgia, my dad shipped me off to Massachusetts to spend time with his family. In honor of seeing me for the first time in six years they decided to take me camping in New Hampshire. So two days after I arrived, we set off to my worst nightmare in a thirty-six foot RV.

Falling out of the RV was how I started my “vacation”. My whole body had fallen asleep on the four hour ride on account of me trying not to move and anger their vicious Alaskan Husky. It took an hour to set everything up at the Saco River Campground and then we headed to the river.

I paused for a moment on the shore. The trees towered above us touching the brilliant blue sky with their emerald green leaves. Their gargantuan branches curved protectively over the river creating wooden gazebos for tired swimmers. The clear mountainous air was heavenly to breathe compared to the heavy and humid southern air. Saco River seemed like another country entirely. 

Getting to the water however was excruciating. Millions of rough, little pebbles stabbed and poked your unprotected feet deterring you from the cool relief of the water. The river this season was low and the current extremely strong.  If you let yourself go, you would find yourself bouncing along the algae covered rocks. When it started to get dark we gingerly headed back over the rocks to sit by the campfire. The snap, crackle and pop of the logs were occasionally interrupted by the fizz of dying bugs on the bug zapper.

The next day my two aunts, my cousin and I set off for a serene float down the river in tubes. Near the end of our float, we struck some small rapids. We had to go through them to get out on the shore.  My cousin and I ended up right in the middle of them, both of us grasping onto smooth rocks to keep from bouncing uncontrollably down the river. Trying to pick our way to the shore over the slippery and slimy rocks was almost impossible. My natural clumsiness did not help and my feet often got wedged in between the rocks. We got to what could hardly be called a shore and walked up a woodsy hill. Arriving at the top, drenched and covered with mud and leaves, we stood by the roadway and called my uncle from the cell phone in the Ziploc bag. 

While waiting for him we slipped into a pharmacy down the street for some bandages and aspirin. Dripping wet, without towels or shoes, the four of us stood in the middle of the first aid aisle and assessed the damage. My ankle was swollen to the size of a grapefruit, my Auntie Lisa’s big toe was an ugly purplish color, my cousin was covered with scratches all over and my Auntie Debra had a huge gash on her foot. We stood at the register with our various medicines, waiting for my uncle to pull up and pay. 

When we arrived at the RV campsite, we bandaged up and collapsed. The next morning we limped out of the RV with cups of coffee in our hands, looked at each other and said “Let’s do that again!” All our injuries were forgotten as we grabbed our tubes and headed for the river.

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