Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Whitewater Rafting

Whitewater rafting has been on my bucket list for years, so when I made my summer must-do list, I was sure to include it! My sister, two of her girlfriends and I booked a day trip through Whitewater Adventures recently. Being newbies, we decided a cheap, easy rafting trip would be the best way to get our feet wet.

My sister did all of the communicating with Whitewater Adventures prior to the trip, and her experience wasn't ideal. The woman on the other end of the phone was generally rude and uninformative, and we didn't have any say in which wave of rafters we would be with. On the day of, we arrived at the stated start time, which turned out to be an hour before our wave was bussed up to the starting point along Upper Cache Creek. The raft we were given wasn't self-bailing, so every time we got through a rough patch of white water we had to make our way to the side of the river to hop out and flip our raft to empty the water (easier said than done!). The dry sacks holding our lunches leaked so our food got wet, although we weren't all that enthusiastic about the uncut rolls and slimy lunch meat anyway. 

On the last and biggest rapid, referred to by Whitewater Adventures as "The Mother," my sister fell out of the boat and went through it on her bum. She hit every boulder on the way down and came out at the bottom pretty banged up and with a potentially fractured shin. A couple of other rafters helped me pull her out of the river, but after letting her rest for a few minutes we had to put her back in the boat and finish out the last mile. When we got to the end, the two staff members collecting rafts and gear didn't seem in any way concerned that my sister was injured and weren't the least bit apologetic for having no first aid supplies on hand.

On the upside, Upper Cache Creek is beautiful! And we got the best upper body workout of our lives! The experience certainly didn't inspire me to pick up whitewater rafting as a regular hobby, but I'm really glad I gave it a try. 

If you were going to book a rafting trip with Whitewater Adventures, I'd recommend doing their weekend trip rather than the one day trip. The company seemed really more geared toward those who participated in the two-day/ two-night adventure, which included camping, a movie night under the stars, a dance party at the campsite, and two days of rafting. Those of us who were there for the one day rafting trip were just an afterthought to the staff.

Here's a list of things I strongly recommend you bring:
- A small bucket to aid in bailing your raft
- Shin guards and a helmet... I'm not kidding
- A dry sack and a carabiner to attach it to the boat
- A first aid kit
- Don't bring a cooler in your boat even if they allow it