13 Nov Browns Canyon: White Water Rafting in Colorado
After an early morning wake up call, we made our way to the River Runners base camp, pulled on our wetsuits, donned a pair of booties and slipped into a water blocking jacket in order to keep warm.
We were assigned the same raft as a family with kids, and to be honest, our first thought was, “I hope we don’t have a mild ride ahead of us.” Nevertheless, it was time for some white water rafting in Colorado. We were excited to get out on the river and have some fun.
The tour we booked goes by the name of Browns Canyon; it is rated a beginner+ level tour and is considered a family-friendly trip. I had my reservations about booking a tour that was appropriate for almost all ages because were looking for adventure and did not want a mild ride.
When we went white water rafting in Iceland, we signed up for the canoe, aka a boat with just the two of us in it. I was worried that the lower class rapids would be a bit boring in a larger raft, so we opted for the more challenging experience. We weren’t quite sure what we were getting ourselves into, but it ended up being one of our favorite experiences ever. Simply put, it was an exhilarating and crazy adventure. I had similar thoughts and reservation when booking this tour, but since we were on assignment for a filming project, it was the only option that fit in our tight schedule.
River Runners offers a variety of tours–they offer full day, half day, and overnight trips in multiple locations. You can paddle yourself with guided instruction (what we did), or if you are feeling a bit too relaxed, you can have a guide row you down the river while you do nothing but hang on. Our Browns Canyon half day tour was $60/pp, and they have a photographer present on every trip; although, the visual evidence of your run is an additional charge. We sprung for the photo package after seeing the photos because we just couldn’t resist the shots from another vantage point!
Once we were dressed up in our gear, it was time to get out on the river. We received a quick lesson on paddling and what to expect from the trip. Next, we jumped into our boat and began paddling to try out our skills as a group. While we floated through the relatively calm water, we practiced following our guide’s commands so we would be prepared for the rapids that were ahead.
Well, I don’t know why I was concerned our trip would be lacking adventure. We were tossed about as we tried with all our might to stay onboard, and it was anything but boring.
With each succession of rapids, our group learned how to work together as we bounced down the Arkansas River. Our guide was fantastic–she knew how to pit our group’s strengths against our weaknesses, to ensure our safety, as well as our enjoyment. We ran rapids with names such as Pinball, Zoom Flume and Staircase. At one point, she even sent us down the rapids backwards with a fancy twist.
The sets of rapids we ran range from class III-IV. There were several occasions that I thought I might loose my footing and topple over the edge of the boat, but thankfully, I held on with all my might. I didn’t feel like repeating our little dip in Iceland, plus, it was way too cold to get immersed in the frigid water!
While we managed to stay upright and afloat the entire trip, there was one raft that didn’t quite fare so well. The raft with only 5 people in it flipped when traveling through a set of rapids. Our guides all leapt into action and rescued the members of the capsized boat immediately. Even though I felt bad for the group that flipped, I couldn’t help but think what an adventure and rush it must have been!
We also had the opportunity to jump into the river for a refreshing swim. Micah and I took a hard pass on that one–as nice as a swim can be, jumping into the cold water was definitely not happening for us that day. It did, however, happen for a couple of our boat mates. The mom and daughter in our group decided to brave the cold and go for a swim. It looked like so much fun…if only I could get past the thought of the cold river, I may have joined them.
During the calm stretches of the river, we would gaze at the gorgeous canyon scenery around us while trying to make out the formations in the rock cliffs lining the river.
Throughout the course of the river, we really grew to enjoy our group. The kids had a lot of spunk and the young lady was definitely an adventurous spirit. As we landed on shore and boarded the bus to take us back to the starting point, we couldn’t help but think about what a great day it had been after all.