This was going to be a weekend for the ages. It seemed as if I had been waiting for this trip for just about ten years. It was finally time for my brother Pat’s bachelor party. My oldest brother Dave did a great job putting the whole weekend together. As the Best Man, that was his duty. Together, he and I came up with the idea of taking the boys to the northern most part of Maine near the Canadian border to test the rapids. Going white water rafting with all the boys is exactly what Pat would want to do before his June wedding. I had been to a handful of bachelor parties before, but I was never more excited for one like this. It was the first time one of my brothers were getting married and all the rest of the bachelor parties I had been to never had an event as extreme as this planned. All the other I had been to were just renting a lake house and doing a whole lot of drinking (amongst other things that I am not a liberty to share). My brothers and myself had been rafting a few times on family vacations in the past, but not many of the groomsman or Pat’s closest friends had. Seeing them go down the river for the first time would be pretty interesting. I was excited to see who would go all in and embrace the adrenaline and who would piss their bathing suit in fear. The party was set for the weekend of May 10th. On the way up to Maine, I checked the weather app on my iPhone and it was supposed to be 70s and clear skies. What perfect conditions, what more could we ask for? We got there on a Friday and started hitting the bottle right away. I wouldn’t have expected anything less from this group. We partied all night which probably wasn’t the best idea since we had to wake up at 7am to caravan to the boat launch, but it was a bachelor party. Being hungover going down danger-class rivers also doesn’t seem like our best idea looking back. The start of our voyage down the river was going well. We transitioned off and on through gentle currents and intense rapids to warm up and get a feel for the river. Our guide named Jake instructed us how and when to paddle from the back of the raft. It wasn’t an extremely difficult concept to grasp. After about an hour, I got a bad feeling. The skies began to turn a darker shade of gray about every ten minutes. But the weather was reported to be nice all weekend, what the hell is this all about? That’s when things began to take a turn for the worst… The rapids became more intense with the impromptu storm that came upon us. The wind was whipping us all around and buckets of rain fell on us, making it near impossible to see even the front of the ten foot raft. The smiles, laughter, and “ball busting” came to an abrupt halt when Mother Nature started showing us no mercy. We were less than halfway down the river and Jake said we had to no choice to finish our journey. It would be unsafe and basically impossible to pull the raft over to the side of the river to wait out the storm. The rocks were more rigid towards the border of the river and we did not know how long the storm would be. We couldn’t just sit there on the side of the river soaking wet and have day to turn to night on us. We had two rafts filled with ten men each. We only came back with six of the twenty. What was supposed to be one of the best weekends of our lives turned into a nightmare I try to forget each day I wake up. As our friends fell out of the rafts left and right, we didn’t have the ability to turn around or slow our rafts to retrieve them. Mother Nature was completely against us at this point. When someone went in, we would scream there name. But how could they hear us or how could we hear them over the rushing waters? We were all terrified and nervous as hell. I couldn’t bear the anxiety of the entire situation. I just wanted to get the hell off the raft and find our missing friends. Why did this have to happen to us? The six of us and Jake finally reached the end of the river. Immediately we called in our emergency and Maine State Troopers combed the river and the woods looking for the fourteen men. Our hearts sunk. We were powerless over the situation. We didn’t know this territory. How could we tell them exactly where to look for fourteen other men. Nightfall came and still no one was recovered. The search would become for difficult now and our friends were soaking wet somewhere in the deep forest of Maine wearing nothing but bathing suits and life jackets. I couldn’t even grasp the injuries they might have sustained crashing down the river filled with large, jagged rock. I broke down in tears at one point, we all did except Pat who somehow was able to keep strong and optimistic. After a day in a half, our friends were finally turning up. We refused to return home until we could bring these men back to their families. This was the bachelor party from hell. For all of our misfortune though, somehow the Staties recovered every single man who went over board. Thank God the Bachelor Party From Hell was finally over.
**************** This bachelor party is actually set for May 10th. Despite what seems to be my unconscious fear of things going south, I’m sure none of these terrifying events will actually happen. In just a couple weeks we will have the weekend of our lives, for the boys.