Unlike the great indoors, the great outdoors offers the excitement of nature's unpredictability, such as being water-ballooned by a woodpecker. Delve into supercilious scenery with today's Groupon: for $99, you get a whitewater rafting trip and two nights of camping from North American River Runners in Minden, West Virginia (a $206 total value). The trip includes:
- Rafting on the Upper Gauley River, Lower Gauley River, Upper New River, or Lower New River (up to a $180 value)
- Two nights of camping (a $26 value)
This Groupon is valid for the 2011 and 2012 Gauley seasons; however, certain dates and holiday weekends do not apply. An additional $3 guided-activity fee is not included in this Groupon. Campers should bring their own tents, sleeping bags, and other camping equipment to the campsites, but rental equipment is available for an additional fee.
The experienced guides at North American River Runners (NARR) introduce rafters of all abilities to roaring rapids during guided trips on the Gauley and New Rivers, voted two of Discovery Channel's top five U.S. rafting locations. The Upper Gauley packs more than 30 Class III–V rapids into 11.5 miles, spaced out by long pools on which paddlers can relax for a moment and enjoy the views or avoid eye contact with overly talkative otters, whereas the Lower Gauley challenges experienced rafters with more than 60 Class III-V+ rapids across a rugged 12-mile stretch. Subject to the iron fist and spillway of the Summersville Dam, rafting season on the Upper and Lower Gauley lasts a scant 22 days in September and October, but even so, the breath-embezzling scenery, world-class wave trains, and provided lunch make the trip a favorite among veterans, rookie rafters, and body-boarding salmon alike. With a lengthier rafting season and less intense turbulence, the Upper New River eases rookie rafters into the sport with Class I–III rapids suitable for the entire family, even kids as young as 6. The Lower New River trip ups the excitement ante with faster rapids and a wealth of river history that exhaust minds and bodies just in time for a riverside lunch.
Guests can set up their own tents and equipment on the mountaintop campgrounds for two nights amid peaceful, panoramic views of the surrounding forest, free from the modern world and its brilliantly colored jumbotrons. Although not included in this Groupon, campers may opt to upgrade from standard accommodations to deluxe lodging for an additional fee or add on rental tents and gear, such as a flannel-lined sleeping bag and pillow ($5/person, per night) or a camp kit with an assembled four-man tent and four half-inch, close-cell foam sleeping pads ($10/night). The grounds afford campers access to a campfire area and picnic table, as well as shower houses within walking distance for washing up or crooning.