Sometimes our summer activities are limited by the ages and weights of the children. This activity has been on our todo list for a long time. We pass Brown’s Canyon every time we head to the hot springs and dreamt of the day we can get the kids on the water.
The minimum age for class III rapids at about 2200 CFS is 6 years old. Kayla is 6! Off we went. We chose to ride with Noah’s Ark Rafting. They have a great program and the guides are super friendly. We had Tim leading us! We opted for a 1/2 day on Brown’s Canyon which is nearby Leadville. Just a bit south of Buena Vista actually. This areas was moved to National Monument status a few years ago. Very cool terrain. Lucky to have it so close.
The water was snow about a day ago so it is pretty chilly. Although the guides are used to it and are not wearing much extra. We rented splash jackets (like rain coats) that helped keep the big sprays off you. Kim took her’s off part way. Your call based on temps.
The kids ride rode up front 3 across. Kim and I were in back. Our guide in the middle. These boats have a sweet setup in the middle where the guide has big oars and does most of the maneuvering on the trip. You get involved by stroking with your paddle on his call. Just to help move the boat back or forward.
I talked to the guide a bunch to try and understand more about rafting. I was curious about his deal there too. These guides were all from all over the US. They come for the summer and work 6 days a week running 2 trips a day. Fun summer on the water meeting fun folks! I clarified what we could expect on class III with the kids. They didn’t seem to concerned. Class III doesn’t seem to lose people out of the boat. Maybe once a week if someone is joking around. We were in good hands.
We rode down the river a few miles before encountering the class III rapids. There were 7 of them. All with names and stories and unique characteristics. The kids got some big air on a few of them. It is daunting when you see that much water in front of the boat.
We made it safely! The crew pulls the boats out. You are about 10 miles from the start. Jump on a school bus and they wisk you back to the start. A great time and I would recommend using these guys again!
So I forgot the GoPro at home. Bummer. I tried to film with my iPhone a bit. Just to give my Mom a sense of how I tried to kill her grandchildren this time. I couldn’t do the big rapids because I had to stroke. I captured a few but I have to put the phone down and paddle so it gets weird. Give it a watch anyway. I had the phone in a waterproof bag around my neck. GoPro would have better. Especially on Kayla!
The kids loved it. I hope we go again. There are other class III sections around here. Also some class IV and V too. Sydney is old enough next year for the class IV. And maybe we can get to class V someday. Seems like a worthy bucket list item!