Whitewater rafting is one of those things that sounds worse than it actually is. Maybe it’s because I took it easy and went during low tide, or maybe because I paid extra attention during the orientation session to be sure I wouldn’t die from this experience, but everything turned out to be a whole lot less anxiety inducing, and a whole lot more fun, than expected.
Let’s start from the beginning. I found an amazing flight deal to Denver, Colorado on Spirit–just $120 roundtrip for a weekend. I was back and forth (believe it or not) until I saw that weekend in August was also a free national park admission day. I took it as a sign and booked my ticket.
Denver isn’t exactly close to Rocky Mountain National Park, but I knew all along that was my main destination. I had just finished hiking Wayna Picchu and was on a high from the thrill of summiting mountains. I set out determined to make the most of this surge of courage and try whitewater rafting once and for all.
Unbeknownst to me, August is actually low tide season for all the rivers in the area, with the water height and conditions peaking in July. This had its upsides and downsides. The upside is that I got to pay a reduced rate for my trip, but the down side is I was only experiencing class 2-3 rapids. You need to get to 4 to get the good stuff, apparently.
What really made this trip enjoyable for me, however, was the atmosphere fostered by the guides on the trip. They were all a group of friends and I feel embodied the spirit of Colorado–wild, easygoing, daring.
I went with a company called The Wanderlust Adventure, and they were excellent from start to finish. They even took professional photos and videos, available afterwards for a reasonable price, considering I don’t go whitewater rafting often and it’s hard to take selfies while holding an oar and attempting not to accidentally bash others across the face. I definitely appreciated the service.
Overall, it was a memorable experience that I would highly recommend! Some things to know before you go:
- You will need to wear water shoes. They will collect Poudre water and will be kind of gross after. It’s one of the necessary evils of rafting.
- You take a bus to the departure place for the rafts, and you need to help load and unload them from the bus so come prepared to do some type of physical activity.
- You have to be conscious of your hand placement at all times and you will get wet. Definitely leave anything and everything in the car–phones, wallet, etc.
- Come prepared with a change of clothes and a towel–you’ll need it afterwards.
- Go for beginner rapids if you’re nervous, but aim for peak season if you want a thrill.
- Last but not least, have fun! That’s what it’s all about, after all.
I hope you enjoy your rafting adventure, and let me know if you need any help getting organized!