It’s a love story like every other, if every other love story involves an insatiable passion for whitewater rafting, contains an eight-day guide training boot camp, and culminates in a riverside engagement. This love story is Mike and Cynthia’s.
Mike and Cynthia, Connecticut natives, first met through their college ultimate frisbee team. After being friends for five years they started dating in 2013. Five years after that and they were on the side of the Kennebec getting engaged. For a couple that had always loved getting outside, a riverside engagement seemed natural. As Mike, explained to me, “We had always talked about that if I were to propose it would be after an adventure or something.”
As it turned out, that adventure was Three Rivers guide training. The pair had started rafting back in 2014 after hiking Katahdin for the second time. Wanting to make the most of their trip up to to Maine, they decided to try class five rafting at Three Rivers in Millinocket. “We were thinking, let’s go all out because it will be a once in a lifetime thing.” It seems that they were slightly off with this prediction.
A more appropriate thought might have been, “rafting will be a lifetime thing.”
After an unforgettable trip, one involving many big waves and one angry fisherman, Mike and Cynthia developed a relationship with their guides Matt and Tyler. This relationship, and their newfound love for the river, lead to the couple planning an annual Maine rafting trip.
The following year, Mike and Cynthia went over to the Forks to raft the Dead river. After yet another unforgettable experience, the pair continued traveling around America, rafting in Costa Rica, Washington, West Virginia and eventually back in Maine. As Cynthia explained, rafting meant so much to them that, “after the first time, we kind of planned our trips around rafting.”
In 2018, after going on so many adventures and spending so much time together, Mike and Cynthia thought that they might as well make it official. They might as well become river guides.
“I was talking to our guide who had been guiding for 42 years and been all around the world doing it and seeing how happy he looked doing it, seeing Matt and Tyler and Will and just meeting everybody… and the family environment. We were like yeah, we want to be a part of that. So, we decided that we were going to do the guide training,” Mike told me.
“Something draws us back to Maine every time and its usually these rivers.” Cynthia added.
With their love of rafting in mind, Mike picked guide training as the setting for the next chapter in his and Cynthia’s story. “If we could really survive after nine days of really hard work and anything like that it would be a perfect reward for both of us to be engaged.”
So, on the final day of training, as Cynthia was helping to stack boats onto the takeout vehicle, Mike got off his boat and went down on one knee.
“I was very shocked. We got to the takeout and we get our boat onto the truck, deflate it, and the next boat comes in which is his boat. So, we go to the boat and I’m about to help to pick it up and then I hear “Cindy.” That’s Michaels voice so I turn around and I’m like what’s going on?”
“After the nine days that we’ve had Michaels gotten really beaten up, he’s gotten open wounds and blisters that I’ve been helping to clean. So, he has this white bandage on his hand and he’s unravelling it and now I’m looking at him like why does he want me to clean his wounds here? Right now? Like, this is not the time or the place, so I’m like, WHAT?”
“And as I approach he’s like “Hi,” and I’m like “Hi,” and he pulls out the ring and this big smile is on my face. I was speechless. I didn’t know what to say, I just smiled and nodded my head the entire time until I could find my voice and say, “Yes.”
Here at Three Rivers we are more than honored to have been a part of Cynthia and Mike’s story. It’s people like them that drive us to keep doing what we do. We wish you two all the best and we look forward to spending more time with you guys on the river! All of the staff here agree with Cynthia when she says that, “Our best memories have definitely been with Three Rivers.” Let’s keep making memories!
You can also watch the proposal with Cynthia narrating here.