The winter season is at a close and the weather is turning a corner. The mix of rain and snow makes both late season skiing and early season biking a hit or miss reality. There is one surefire outdoor activity to get the juices flowing and drive that all too present hunger we have here in the Mountains of Colorado: White Water Rafting!
As the rain takes over the day why not get in a raft and play? Rafting is that one great sport that is also a fun experience in acclimate weather. You will be getting wet anyway so why not get hit in the face with some fresh from snow-melt cold mountain river water! Its almost as satifying as a fresh deep powder day.
High water, and a whitewater season in general, comes and goes quickly every year. Those 2 months of adrenaline to start out the season are enough to get you hooked for life. Here in Vail we have the Eagle River and Gore Creek right out our backdoor, These Colorado River headwaters are world class waterways which should not be missed.
Here are Six reasons you should raft this spring:
- Limited season. The rivers in Colorado only run for a few months and then it is over. It is like getting all of your powder days at the beginning of the season and then have it taper out. You can mountain bike more months than you can boat so why not wait until the water runs out? You can’t bike when it is raining anyway.
- You will get wet when Whitewater Rafting so you might as well go when it is raining. Sure the water is cold, but here in Colorado it rarely warms up before the season ends. Try to relate it to skiing. You don’t go out in a tee-shirt in the middle of a blizzard! The same holds true with rafting. Every Commercial Rafting company will make you wear a wetsuit, booties, and a splash jacket until mid July. This is a great start but make sure you also bring a wool beanie and layers of polypro and fleece in the spring. This added warmth will make the day more comfortable.
- The higher flows make rafting more fun. Even at the highest peak flow of the river, the rafting company will take you on the best and safest section of the river. Rafting companies adapt. They are used to the ever changing flows and are professionals at what they do. When one section gets too high or too low, they adapt and move to another section that is more suitable. Safety is their primary focus. With 40 miles of run-able river on the Eagle alone and another 15 on Gore Creek, Raft companies, like Sage Outdoor Adventures, can find a fun section to raft. At higher flows the usually flat water sections become fun and big wave class III fun. If you are more adventurous and experienced then they can guide you through the more challenging whitewater sections.
- The close proximity to Vail and Beaver Creek makes the Eagle River an excellent half day adventure. No one likes being in the car for longer than you are on the river. When the Eagle river is running you can raft in the morning and still be back in town early enough to enjoy the afternoon Food Tour or happy hour at Vail Brewing Co. Out of all the great rivers that I have guided in my 20 years, the Eagle has some of the easiest logistics and quickest access.
- Wildlife viewing. We all come to Colorado to experience and be with nature. Rafting is one of the best ways to travel through an area and sneak up on nature. You see Eagles, blue Herons, Deer, Otters, Beavers, Moose, Big Horn Sheep, Trout and numerous other little creatures along the trip. Most of the time the animals do not hear you and are not threatened by you while you are on the raft. Most other sports are too noisy and do not offer such a close up look at some of our wonderful wildlife here in Colorado.
- Great fun as a group activity! Rafting can be a great group activity. Each boat can hold six people and even the largest groups can be accommodated in a single rafting adventure. Nothing makes for better conversation throughout the group than reflecting on the thrills and fun on a rafting adventure.
No more excuses or waiting for next year to have some cold water fun and adrenaline, Memorial day is upon us and the official kickoff to the whiewater season is here! Call your local rafting company and get on board. Enjoy yet another adventure that gets us hungry here in the high country!