Sunday we went white water rafting on the Arkansas River down by Buena Vista. It was great fun! Al and Rosalie were up for the weekend and Dad is here visiting. The stretch we did was in Brown’s canyon and had 10 sets of class 3 rapids with names like Pinball (cause you bounce from rock to rock) and Zoom Flume, 7 steps, and Toilet Bowl.
We started out in 55 degree weather which is very unusual for this time of year. They geared us up in wetsuits and splash jackets to ward off the cold temps which are compounded by cold water. The river was running at about 820 cfs (cubic feet per second) but had topped out this year at 3600 cfs and will go as low as 250 cfs (1 cfs is the amount of water equivalent of the size of 1 basketball). At 3500 cfs the water runs very fast but most of the technical aspects of the river (i.e. boulders in the middle) are covered up, so while its a fast run, its not as technical. As the water level drops more of the landscape and obstacles are revealed. Many of the spots we went through would not have been a class 3 rapid a couple of weeks ago because there were no boulders to navigate.
We had lunch of chicken fajitas and brownies on a rock bar in the middle of the river. The guides all packed in something different in their boat, cooler, propaine tank (wrapped in a life jacket), grill, and a table. It was pretty nice having a warm lunch! The sun came out a lunch and many of us took our splash jackets off and enjoyed the sun. It was warm by the time we finished and we were all exhausted. Needless to say, everyone slept very well last night!