It’s not everyday that I get to go rafting. Sure I work for a rafting company, but between answering phone calls and preparing trips for the next few days it can be really hard to find the time to get on the river. Luckily, my bosses are really great and plan team-building trips. We rafted Pine Creek, The Numbers and The Narrows a few days ago. It was AWESOME!! I am always excited to add another river to my list, but getting to run three sections in one day is quite the special treat.
We arrived at the Pine Creek put-in and started gearing up and rigging the boats. I was a little nervous. Pine Creek is a Class IV-V 6 mile stretch. It starts out fairly mellow with a few splashes here and there. The first major rapid, Maytag, was a great warm-up. We pulled over to scout Pine Creek Rapid. Oh. My. God. It was big. The river was running over 1,200 CFS, which is pretty high for this section. This rapid alone drops at 200 feet per mile. So steep. The guides talked about the lines they were going to take and the dangers of the rapid. Once we got to the end of the rapid we were given the option to run it or walk around. I’ve been rafting on plenty of Class V sections, I’ve swum a few rapids, I’m pretty active & in shape and there was no way I was going to get on a boat and run it. I have no shame in my choice to walk around. I would love to run it at a lower level, and I probably will. Four out of twelve of our team ran it. We set up safety along the banks and watched as they rafted this whitewater masterpiece. And, not to toot their horns and boost their already massive egos, but they CRUSHED IT!! They eddied out after the bottom of the S move and we all jumped back in. Triple Drop rapid was right around the corner. It had fun, technical moves and awesomely steep drops!
The Numbers section was up next. This technical Class IV section was gorgeous and exhilarating! There are massive granite boulders strewn about the river creating super fun rapids. 1, 2, & 3 were so close I hardly had time to think about the rapid we just finished. We got soaked in 4 and 5. They both required lots of paddling and a couple technical maneuvers to avoid potential flips. I don’t remember much about 6 and 7, aside from Casey trying to paddle slap the splashes because he didn’t want to get wet.
After The Numbers, the river calmed a bit and I thought that was going to be the end of the rapids. Wrong. The Narrows definitely surprised me. The rapids weren’t quite as big, but they were splashy! There were tons of wave trains and places to surf. I finally had time to breath and really take in the scenery. Such a magnificent area! Every once in a while you could see the Collegiate Peaks through the pines that lined the river. It was a great way to wind down from all the excitement. There was one last rapid at the take-out and the boys convinced me to surf the hole. The best part was during surf #3 when the entire bow was submerged and Casey fell out. Casey is really good at carping (swimming). James and Tats forced me to surf one last time and I was almost certain we were going to flip. The stern was in the air and so was Tats! Luckily, the rapid spit us out and we didn’t get tossed out of the boat. We eddied out, derigged and got into warm clothes.
Days like this remind me why I love rafting. My entire body ached and we were on the water for way too long, but it’s all worth it. I got to bond with my friends in an amazing canyon, I added another river to my list, and it helps me do my job. Getting to see each section that we raft helps me find the most suitable section for friends and families looking to go on a rafting trip. Rafting is awesome and I think everyone should try it at least once. A wise woman once taught me that everyone wants to go rafting, they just don’t know it yet.
So if you’re on the fence about rafting, give me a call and I can tell you about how awesome it is!