A few weeks after we got back from the road trip, we took our new raft out on her first river trip. We had bought the raft in early spring, christened her Pura Vida, and made plans for multiple outings over the summer. Alas, the combination of dry winter and warm dry spring meant that the rafting season on the Upper Colorado, which usually peaks in August, was mostly over by the end of June. We only got the one trip in this summer and the water was pretty low.
We eventually want to raft as much of the Colorado River as our little 12-foot raft can handle. So for our first run we put in at the Pumphouse Recreation Area, just downstream of the scary Class IV rapids of Gore Canyon, which is basically the first raftable stretch of the Colorado. Below Gore Canyon it’s an easy run; the biggest obstacle comes right near the beginning where a big boulder in the middle of the river creates a four-foot drop as you go past it (not pictured; we were holding onto oars, not cameras).
The weather was gorgeous. The water wasn’t nearly as cold as we thought it would be.
There were a few rapids here and there, but this run at this water level is mostly about the scenery.
Saw a pair of bald eagles and really wished I had a better camera!
Pura Vida is a self-bailing raft with a drop-stitched floor, ridiculously buoyant and easy to steer. We hardly got splashed at all, even in the rapids.
Just a lovely day.
A railroad runs along the river for most of the way, so we got to enjoy seeing the trains roll by.
From Pumphouse to Rancho del Rio is nine miles of river, theoretically a five-hour run. There’s a stretch of slack water at the end, right before you get to Rancho, and we were warned that in the afternoons a strong headwind picks up and makes it hard to cross. Luke and I had gotten a small taste of that on Pura Vida’s maiden voyage. We had taken her to Cherry Creek Reservoir in early June to get used to handling her, and ended up fighting an exhausting battle back across the lake against strong afternoon winds. We weren’t looking to repeat that experience, so we got a bit overenthusiastic with the paddling and did the Pumphouse-Rancho run in less than three hours. No problem with headwinds.
We had lunch at the little outdoor BBQ place at Rancho, and then packed up the raft and headed home.
This winter is predicted to be cold and wet, so hopefully next year’s rafting season will be longer. Looking forward to future runs!