River rafting is one of the most fun things you can choose to do!
The great thing about river rafting is that you can choose the intensity of your adventure. Want a quiet scenic float? Great! Want a heart pounding adrenal rush? Rafting is for you!
Of course, you’ll want to do some homework and choose your level of excitement long before you step into the raft!
If you’re new to river rafting, don’t go it alone. Many people have the common thought that river rafting is like a wet roller coaster ride. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mother nature is in charge and uncontrollable forces are always in play. When you’re on moving water you have to prepare to contend with eddies, currents, hydraulics, and obstacles such as log jams, or even waterfalls. You have to be able to “read the river” in order to work with the current and choose the correct line that will provide the safest and most fun adventure.
I have guided river trips by raft and canoe for many years. Later, I became director of the high adventure base and hired and trained river guides.
Every river trip has its dangers which can be lessened by having knowledge and skill, or by using experienced river guides who can provide you with a safe experience. If you are new to river rafting, I would suggest starting with a scenic float on flat water. If that is too boring, move up to an experience that provides moderate waves with stretches of flat water in between. I suggest that you try a few class II or III rivers and get familiar with the level of difficulty before attempting anything dangerous on your own.
Most of the challenges (yes, and tragedies) I have witnessed on the river have happened to people who have overestimated their fitness level and skill and have underestimated the resulting effects of cold water, currents, or obstacles. They muscle their way through life and have no concept of how puny they are in comparison to the strength of the river. Ego without skill is a dangerous thing. I like the saying “ego is the anesthetic that dulls the pain of stupidity!” Stay away from these people!
Full on river experiences!
I have canoed and rafted hundreds of miles of rivers, mostly in the western USA. The Colorado river offers intense multi-day experiences that should only be done by experienced rafters or professional guides. I have run rivers where we had a 5-day float in a wilderness area. There were no take outs or chance of rescue should something go wrong. We carried all necessary supplies including raft sew and repair kits (which we used).
These types of trips should only be attempted by skilled and well-trained individuals.
One of my favorite recommendations for novice river enthusiasts is the Snake River in Teton National Park, just south of Yellowstone National Park. It offers exceptionally scenic floats as well as white water experiences. Each can be done in half or full day segments. If you head to the Jackson Hole area, I suggest contacting Teton Whitewater ahead of time to schedule your river adventure.
If you want to learn more about basic strokes, or other outdoor skills, head on over to our videos section!
Be Safe and Happy Rafting!