For those of you who know me, you won’t be surprised when I tell you I went white water river rafting. You all know I am an adrenaline junkie! I love all things outdoors and that require a little risk and adventure!
So on our family vacation to Crested Butte, we stopped in Buena Vista to go White Water River Rafting along the Arkansas River. It is definitely something I’d recommend everyone try!
There is something for all levels of experience. There are many different rafting companies along the river, however we went with Arkansas Valley Adventures (AVA). They provide rides via Browns Canyon for beginner and intermediate rafters. The Browns Canyon trip consists of Class I, II, & III Rapids. If you are more daring and want a little more action, they also offer trips down Pine Creek & Numbers or just the Numbers. The Numbers consists of Class I, II, III, & IV Rapids while Pine Creek includes I-IV and a Class V Rapid!
What classifies the different rapid classifications? According to American White Water:
Fast moving water with riffles and small waves. Few obstructions, all obvious and easily missed with little training. Risk to swimmers is slight; self-rescue is easy.
Straightforward rapids with wide, clear channels which are evident without scouting. Occasional maneuvering may be required, but rocks and medium-sized waves are easily missed by trained paddlers.
Rapids with moderate, irregular waves which may be difficult to avoid and which can swamp an open canoe. Complex maneuvers in fast current and good boat control in tight passages or around ledges are often required; large waves or strainers may be present but are easily avoided. Strong eddies and powerful current effects can be found, particularly on large-volume rivers.
Intense, powerful but predictable rapids requiring precise boat handling in turbulent water. Depending on the character of the river, it may feature large, unavoidable waves and holes or constricted passages demanding fast maneuvers under pressure. A fast, reliable eddy turn may be needed to initiate maneuvers, scout rapids, or rest. Rapids may require “must” moves above dangerous hazards.
Extremely long, obstructed, or very violent rapids which expose a paddler to added risk. Drops may contain** large, unavoidable waves and holes or steep, congested chutes with complex, demanding routes. Rapids may continue for long distances between pools, demanding a high level of fitness. What eddies exist may be small, turbulent, or difficult to reach. At the high end of the scale, several of these factors may be combined.
These runs have almost never been attempted and often exemplify the extremes of difficulty, unpredictability and danger. The consequences of errors are very severe and rescue may be impossible. For teams of experts only, at favorable water levels, after close personal inspection and taking all precautions.
We did the Pine Creek & Numbers full day trip; leaving at 9am and returning a little before 2pm. I recommend sitting in the front where you will get the full experience of the river (drenched). Check out the video we took along the Granite Rapids (Class V Rapids) along the Arkansas River.
NOTE: The Class V Granite Rapids start at 2:09