If you are anything like me, then you live for those days at the end of the week where an alarm clock need not exist. A self proclaimed weekend warrior trying to make the best of the precious time outside the 9 to 5. After a long week these sacred two or three days are meant to relax, get outside and hang out with friends and family. On some days off I am perfectly content doing nothing at all, but there are many times I itch for adventure.
When getting outside I normally go somewhere close to home – a day trip that doesn’t require a ton of planning in advance. There are also the weekend trips my wife and I love to do, but don’t happen as often due to the insane amount of preparation involved. When hiking we pack light so this isn’t as much of an issue. But when we can drive up to the site more friends and comforts come with us. The more the merrier, but sometimes the coordination becomes tiring in itself – who’s bringing what, do you have enough food for all the meals, fuel to cook, batteries, power banks, plates, fire word, etc.
When it came time for my bachelor party, I wanted to do something fun and adventurous but easy for all my boys since not all of them have sufficient gear for an out-of-state camping trip. With a little research, we found the perfect solution – Southeastern Expeditions – an outfitter out of Clayton, Georgia who would supply all the gear and food needed for an overnight whitewater rafting trip down the Chattooga River.
Easiest and best camping trip ever! Here’s how it went…
Rafting Day 1
The day began with us dropping all our bags off at the out-post in Clayton, GA prior to launching. Since all gear was being provided, we only brought our clothes, sleeping bags and booze. We were greeted by our campsite chef, Carson, who took our orders for that evening’s dinner – steak or trout. We were expecting burgers and hot dogs, so that was the moment we all realized this trip was going to be better than expected.
Quickly after our orders were taken we got a thorough safety briefing by the trip leader, Jeff, who ended up also being one of the two awesome raft guides for our crew. Jeff was in my boat and was funny, knowledgable and able to expertly navigate our raft through the rapids. My friends in the second raft had Molly as their guide and had nothing but good things to say about her skills and company during the two day trip.
Once in the rafts, Day 1 took us down Section III of the river and consisted mostly of mild rapids but also had two big drops – making this section perfect for families and children. Jeff explained the Chattooga is natural flowing (not controlled by a dam), so the intensity of the river depends on the amount of rainfall. We were still recovering from the night before so being able to jump in and float down the river during the calm sections was perfect us.
Another highlight of the day was actually the lunch that was served. Using an upside-down raft as a table, the friendly staff laid out delicious cold cuts, various types of cheese, different kinds of bread, tons of toppings, condiments, veggies and a really tasty fresh granola. There was plenty of food and everyone was satisfied.
At about 1:30 PM we reached the end of Section III to conclude the first day of rafting. Our two rafts pulled up on the river bank in front of the campsite, while the others who were there for the single day excursion continued down to the exit point.
We arrived to a campsite with chairs around a fire pit, all of our tents already set up with our bags and drinks delivered as well. I’ve been camping countless times, and actually enjoy setting up my campsite, but walking up and having everything taken care of was fantastic. All we had to do was put our bags in our tents, set up the super comfortable sleeping pads and get our sleeping bags ready. (Cool side note: the sleeping pads provided were upcycled from raft material.) This was the easiest camping I’ve ever done – the definition of what we are all about – Camping Is Easy.
After getting settled there was still plenty of daylight left, so we took advantage of it. A few of us did some fishing, while others used the rope swing and swam in the river for hours. Alex was even able to throw a football from the South Carolina side of the river all the way to the Georgia side!
When the dinner bell rang, Chef Carson did not disappoint! In a wide shallow hole, Carson grilled our steak, trout, baked potatoes and even made garlic bread. A delicious salad topped with colorful veggies was a perfect addition. However, it was Carson’s homemade peach cobbler pie that stole the show. Seriously, the food as awesome. We ate like kings.
The remainder of the night was perfectly simple. We hung out by the campfire, drank and had a good time. Eventually the day’s activities caught up with us, and one by one we stumbled to our tents.
The next morning we woke to the sun and were greeted with a legit breakfast for champs. Carson cooked up some of the best breakfast burritos I’ve ever had. As tired as we were, at least we weren’t hungry and fueled up for the day ahead.
Rafting Day 2
Day 2 was the real deal white water rafting. Section IV of the Chattooga has Class III-V rapids, which occur regularly throughout the day. If you are looking for an exciting ride I would definitely recommend doing this section of the river over Section III (Day 1). Back to back to back we had to navigate through big rapids and tricky lines. Section IV required consistent paddling and more focus than the day before, but was more than worth it. We also got to stop at a beautiful waterfall and had another great lunch!
In the end, this was a trip I will never forget. I got to hang with my closet friends and break the mold for a unique bachelor party. The river was great, the weather held up and the staff was friendly and down-to-earth. I highly recommend Southeastern Expedition’s Overnight Rafting & Camping Experience.