Whitewater rafting

Old Apr 1st, 2008, 06:38 AM
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Whitewater rafting

My family will be in Colorado Springs and Santa Fe the 2nd week of August. The kids (18 and 21) would like to try whitewater rafting. I have several questions:

1. Will it be too late in the season for rafting?
2. DD is a strong swimmer but DS can barely swim. Is it safe for him to raft?
3. Can anyone suggest a rafting company not too far from either Colorado Springs or Santa Fe? I would be looking for a half-day trip since DH and I won't be going and we have lots of things that all 4 of us want to do so time is limited.

Thanks for any help anyone can offer!
Pat_in_Mich is offline  
Old Apr 1st, 2008, 07:56 AM
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I did a rafting trip 2 years ago, mid August.
The trip I did was under the Royal Gorge. The rapids were pretty high, 3-4.
Other than falling out of the raft and getting washed downstream quite a way, it was enjoyable.
They put you in a wet suit, a life jacket, a helmet, booties.
You are pretty well protected. Even after falling out I only had a few bruises.
forgiddy is offline  
Old Apr 1st, 2008, 08:33 AM
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When we were planning a rafting trip, I researched with farflung.com nativesonsadventures.com and losriosriverrunners.com

In the end, we changed plans so I can't recommend a specific company. I would suggest looking for either a "scenic" trip or "family" trip. I think these connote a calmer experience with fewer dangerous rapids.
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Old Apr 1st, 2008, 08:33 AM
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There are several companies that raft out of Buena Vista, which is close to CO Springs. You can choose a half-day trip, which is fine for their first experience.

I wouldn't worry about the lack of swimming ability. You can insist that your son wear a life jacket. Chances are that he won't even fall out anyway. That is late in the season, but the rafting may be still fine, depending on how much precipitation they've gotten. The rafting companies usually have several different trips to choose from, ranging from "mild to wild", as they say. Honestly, if they go with a "float trip", they will likely be bored. Some rapids would be good.

I'm not as familiar w/ rafting in NM, but I know there is some in the Taos area.
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Old Apr 1st, 2008, 11:40 AM
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Regarding your son who is not a strong swimmer...please check with the particular rafting company. But in general, it is more important that your son not be afraid of being in the water than his ability to swim. He will have a very buoyant life jacket on that will keep his head out of water. As long as he is calm in water, he should probably be just fine.

But you probably also shouldn't be doing the higher class rapids either.

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Old Apr 1st, 2008, 12:23 PM
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Several years ago we used an outfitter called Canyon Marine out of Salida, CO. It seems like we went early and were done by lunch. They take pictures of you in one of the hairy rapids for a great photo.
We went 4th of July weekend and the water was chilly!! I rented a wetsuit but my DH toughed it out. I would think August would similar to July. I was terrified to fall out of the raft. I sank my feet deep under the inflatable bench in the raft to anchor myself in.
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Old Apr 1st, 2008, 05:30 PM
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You should be able to take a half-day trip from Santa Fe. We haven't done that yet, though, so I can't recommend a company.

Lee Ann
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Old Apr 2nd, 2008, 12:23 PM
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White water rafting at that time could be pretty iffy. The water would be low and makes for a more dangerous runs because more rocks are exposed. Your best bet would be Brown Canyon out of Buena Vista. That is a major rafting area with several companies to choose from. I have done Brown Canyon in early July and it is more of a float trip when compared to a late May/early June run. BV is slightly more than hour west of CS and they do have nice half day trips. Being able to swim is no advantage because you cannot swim in the rapids. Get on your back, point you feet downstream and hope that you don't bounce off of too many rocks. I would avoid the Royal Gorge those are higher rated rapids and the water will be low in August -- just a question of how low. However, with the current snow pack in the area it might be that once in a decade or two when the run off is still good in August but doubtful.

My guess is that you would have less opportunity around Santa Fe cause it is further south but no experience in that area.
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Old Apr 14th, 2008, 08:50 PM
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buffalo joes out of buena vista was very good to us...

As stated, august - esp the 2nd week, is pretty iffy, you will just have to monitor it and cross your fingers.

And don't worry about having to insist your son wear a life jacket, there isn't a rafting company out there that will let any of you near the river without one on.
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Old Apr 15th, 2008, 04:08 AM
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A word of caution about non-swimmers: if they are not comfortable in the water they may panic if they fall out of the raft (and there's always a chance of that). I was almost drowned once by a big man who panicked when the raft flipped. He tried to climb over me to get back in the raft, but of course, all he managed to do was shove me under the rapids. Fortunately, the guide on another raft grabbed him by his jacket and pulled him off me. For obvious reasons, I don't believe non-swimmers should be doing whitewater rafting. Stick to the class I or II float trips.
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