Mid-Season Primer for Colorado Whitewater Rafting
Colorado rivers haven't looked this good in mid-summer in years.
This winter's record snowmelt have made for some exciting rafting and kayaking conditions on Colorado rivers. Unfortunately, the fast-moving water has meant more rafting accidents and deaths this year as well. This article isn't about that. I'm actually encouraging you to go.
After two drought-stricken years of record low water-levels now is your chance to experience Colorado rafting at it's best! Conditions are perfect and there's still plenty of time to make a memory that will last a lifetime. One of my fondest is from a few years back when my son and I, along with his Boy Scout Troop, took to on the Arkansas River.
This year's snowpack, late-season snows, cooler spring, and slower runoff created some super-high water levels for most of June. Now, the rivers have backed off just enough to make the late-summer conditions nearly perfect. This year's steady water flow could very well extend the Colorado rafting season well into early fall.
Before you go, here are some things to remember...
1) Always wear a Personal Floatation Device.
2) Even though it may be hot, the water can still be cold enough to cause hypothermia. Consider wearing a wetsuit if the water is cold.
3) Only hit the river with someone who's familiar with the stretch of water you plan to take on.
4) Never stand up in a raft in moving water
5) Even though it's fine on slow-flowing "lazy rivers" never tie innertubes or rafts together on Colorado rivers. Ropes can be a source of entanglement leading to accidents.
If you don't own the gear, or know someone that does, go with a commercial rafting outfitter. Here are some things to consider...
1) Choose the level of rafting that fits your skills. If you're not sure, always err on the side of caution and take the easier trip. It's will still offer plenty of excitement.
2) Follow the outfitter’s suggestions when it comes to attire.
3) Pay attention to the safety instructions the outfitter provides. You're not riding on a plane, you're likely rolling down a raging river, pay attention to what the guide is saying.