|Photo: A large rock stands in the foreground, with the fast-flowing Arkansas River behind it|
John and I traveled to Colorado to spend the weekend with our son and his girlfriend. We booked a full-day whitewater rafting trip with Noah's Ark to go down's Brown's Canyon on the Arkansas River. Though we've all been rafting before (though not on this river), I was a little nervous because of the high water levels this year. (My nervousness was nothing like my zip-lining anxiety, however!) The staff at Noah's Ark did a great job of giving their safety instructions without eliciting fear in the participants, and soon it was time to get in the boats.
We had a raft to ourselves (with our guide, of course!) When Ty, our guide, heard that two of us were a little nervous, he said he would put us in the front of the boat. He told us it would be more splashy, but that we would be less likely to fall out of the boat. I was OK with that.
More splashy=dripping wet the entire time. We did, however, stay in the boat, which made me very thankful.
We traveled approximately 20 miles down the Arkansas River. According to Ty, the water was flowing around 2500 cubic feet per second, which is higher than normal for this time of year. Most of the rapids we encountered were ranked as III's, but we did go over a IV. As a reference point, we were told water in a bathtub would be a I and Niagara Falls would be a VI. So go ahead and be impressed. 🤣
None of us took our phones/cameras with us, because we didn't want to risk getting them wet, so I don't have photos of us, but we did return the next day to a spot along the riverbank next to the largest rapid we experienced, so we could at least take a photo of the river. While we were there, we noticed a group across the river. Before attempting this particular rapid, guides generally scout out the conditions and develop a plan of attack. When we saw the river was being scouted, we decided to wait and take video of the rafts going down the river. The following video captures the experience. (Please forgive the sound quality. It sounds worse upon publication than it did in the editing software, and I don't know how to fix it.)
This rapid, Seidel's Suckhole, made me, son's girlfriend, and John all end up involuntarily in the bottom of the boat. John christened me and son's girlfriend as "splashyface buddies."
Though Seidel's Suckhole was the most daunting of the rapids we went down, you wouldn't necessarily know that from the names of the other rapids. We successfully navigated Pinball, Zoom Flume, Big Drop, Staircase, Widow Maker (!), Raft Ripper, and Twin Falls. All of the rapids were a lot of fun, especially because I felt securely tucked into the raft.
Noah's Ark guides did an excellent job instructing the rafters what to do in case of an accidental swim. There were swimmers from some of the other rafts at Seidel's Suckhole. They were still smiling at the end of the day, so I think they enjoyed their rafting experience, too.
I'm thankful for a fun weekend, and for skilled river guides.
Have you ever been white water rafting? Tell me about your experience!