Did Someone Say “Whitewater Rafting?”
I’m almost completely sure that Whitewater Rafting is my all-time favorite Backyard Adventure. If you asked me tomorrow or next weekend if I wanted to go, the answer would always be YES. Whitewater rafting contains the almost perfect mix of everything: the outdoors, a solid dose of adrenaline, fitness, and plenty of laughter and team bonding.
All About Whitewater Rafting
Well here’s the rundown on whitewater rafting. Rest assured when I tell you it’s an activity for almost anyone. Children, teenagers and adults alike have all enjoyed the activity. To cater to a larger audience and a variety of skill levels, there are different river sections with different classes of rapids. To give you some background information, classes of rapids are between levels 1-6. Class 1 would be the calm and quiet winding river, so booking an excursion on class 1-2 rapids would be a family orientated adventure. For the extreme adventure seekers, they should find an outfit that traverses rapids between classes 3-5. The time of year you have booked your trip will also influence the level of rapids – June has the highest level of waters while later in the season during August and September you will see much lower water levels.
Before starting out it’s important to ensure you bring along some specific items to wear such as a bathing suit and closed-toed water shoes. You will be outfitted with some safety gear including a paddle, helmet and life-jacket. Depending on where you will be rafting and the temperature of the water, a wet-suit and windbreaker jacket will help keep you warm if needed. As you can tell by the pictures, I was all bundled up to surf the frigid northern British Columbia waters.
Ready, Set, RAFT!
Well not quite. First the guide will impart some important information about rafting and the responses you should have to some of the commands that they will be shouting out. Over the course of the 2-3 hours on the water I became very familiar with being told to “Paddle Hard,” “Paddle Right/Left,” “Break” or to “Get Down.” If you’re curious about the last command it means that everyone should pull their paddle in and sit on the bottom of the boat to stabilize the raft, as it goes through a particularly strong rapid. Sound scary? I loved every minute of it.
But What Happens If I Fall Out?!
Falling out is probably the biggest fear in rafting. If you look at the action shots, you might think I spent half of the adventure in the water. Surprisingly the boat didn’t tip over once, although I did get a lot of water in my mouth from both screaming and laughing so hard when we crested the rapids.
If you do fall out, your first line of defense is your life jacket. Secondly, you are told to get into a body surfing position where your legs are facing forward and upwards to protect your body and prevent from catching on the bottom or on any rocks as your surf the waves. Your guide will also have a throw-cord and will help pull you back into the raft if necessary. Be prepared to swim, swim, swim and to grab hold of the cord depending on how far you are from the boat. I’ve been in a raft that tipped over purposefully and accidentally. It was always more fun than scary in my experience.
North America – The Best Places To Raft
In Canada my absolute favorite places to go Whitewater Rafting are in Ottawa, Ontario and in British Columbia at Whistler, in Chilliwack or Clearwater. Rafting hot spots in the United States are in West Virginia, Colorado and in Las Vegas at the Grand Canyon.
Remember To Have Fun
My very best memories are from activities I have been on with friends, acquaintances or coworkers at team building events. When I remember the destination it usually immediately brings to mind the adventures and places I explored while I was there. And if I have a hard time remembering exactly what went on, these pictures are just the ticket to get my next rafting excursion put on the books.
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