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Summer Memories: A Reason to be Thankful

At Mountain Whitewater, we are privileged to be able to help create and share life-long positive memories with our guests while traveling the Poudre River.

By Ben Costello, November 2015

Summer Memories: A Group High Five ojn the Last Day of the 2015 Poudre Rafting Season
As we approach the end of the year and the weather begins to turn colder we tend to start to think back about the past year. We remember all the fun things we experienced. We recall the time we were able to spend with friends and family. We relive the memories of our adventures. We remind ourselves of the challenges we faced and how we were able to overcome those challenges. The end of the year also brings us the holiday season were we reflect on the things in our lives we are most thankful for. As I look back on 2015, it is obvious that we have a lot to be thankful for at Mountain Whitewater.

We are thankful to operate on the only “Wild and Scenic River” in Colorado. The Cache La Poudre is truly a special place and is a perfect setting to create Summer Memories: Guests Enjoying a Rafting Trip with Mountain Whitewaterwonderful and lasting memories. We are thankful for the community in which we live. Fort Collins is a fantastic city full of people who share our love of the outdoors and value spending time in nature. We are thankful for our fantastic staff. Mountain Whitewater would not be the same without the eclectic, caring, fun-loving employees who love sharing their river experiences with others. Most of all, we are thankful for all the amazing guests who come to Mountain Whitewater for a summer adventure. We continually strive to provide an educational, entertaining and rewarding experience while traveling with our guests. We are thankful to create memories that will last a lifetime.

Summer Memories: Mountain Whitewater Guide Smiling as they Smash a Wave

My favorite memory from this past summer occurred during high-water in June. There were several couples who rode in the raft I was guiding, one couple on their anniversary. The weather was beautiful that day, mostly sunny, but not too warm. We had a successful run with lots of splashes and an adrenaline rush when one person briefly exited the raft. We saw a deer on the riverbank and even an eagle searching for a meal. After the trip, I sat with the anniversary to have a beer while discussing the trip. The part of the day that I remember most was part of this conversation. The couple told me that this trip will be there most memorable anniversary yet and that they hope to come back for next years celebrations as well. It was very satisfying for me to get such a complement.
Here are just a few quotes our guests shared with us about their memories form this past summer:

“Could Not Have Been a Better Experience, The staff at Mountain Whitewater delivered an unforgettable rafting experience for our family.” -Ross from Springfield, MO

“The whole family agreed this was the best activity we did on our trip to Colorado and MWD was definitely the best choice…They created camaraderie between the people on the different rafts and had us all laughing together.” -BeachSwan

“Had one of the most perfect experiences. The guides were very professional, knowledgable, fun and safe…Our children enjoyed themselves immensely and have not stopped talking about the day.” -Nik from Manchester, UK

“We have participated in numerous family activities but undoubtedly Mountain Whitewater ranks at the top as one of our best family outings, ever! Luckily, we have lots of memories thanks to the video of us as we cruised down the Poudre taken by the staff photographer. ..Thank you all at Mountain Whitewater’ staff for a magical, spectacular, action-packed day! Paddle High Five!”  -TMA5280 from Denver, CO

Check us out on Trip Advisor to read more testimonials from our fantastic guests! We would love to hear more about your summer memories with Mountain Whitewater as well, so please share with us on Trip Advisor, Facebook or Google+.

Thanks you everyone who contributed to our memories during the summer of 2015. We will look forward to seeing your on the river once again hope that the Poudre River will remain as the inspiration for more great summer memories.

Rafting the Colorado River: An Employee Trip

Mountain Whitewater employees celebrate another great season by participating in a multi-day trip rafting the Colorado River.

By Ben Costello, November 2015

Rafting the Colorado River: Rafts on the Water near Blackrock

It was another great rafting season on the Cache La Poudre River for Mountain Whitewater, one of the best ever in fact. There were great water levels throughout the season and entertaining music at the Paddler’s Pub. A fantastic crew of employees and all our wonderful guests contributed to making 2015 a rafting season to remember. The staff at Mountain Whitewater worked hard all season to ensure a great experience for everyone involved. After all of that hard work, it was time for a group of employees to celebrate the season by going on a multi-day rafting vacation.

In mid October, with permits secured, food packed and rafting and camping equipment secured in trucks, our group of twelve guides headed to Western Colorado for a trip rafting the Colorado River. The plan for the devoted band of river rats was to launch just west of Frutia, Colorado and head down river to spend five days running the Ruby-Horsethief and Westwater Canyons of the Colorado River.

Those who have never experienced an over-night rafting trip often assume the trips are strenuous and rough. Traveling with minimal gear while eating freeze dried food, like backpackers. That is not the case for most rafting trips. Rafts can accommodate lots of gear, a full kitchen, large, comfortable sleeping pads, camp chairs, fire pans, plenty of beer and lots of other creature comforts. Our trip rafting the Colorado River included meals like lasagna, eggs and bacon, steak shish-ka-bobs with artichoke dip, Reuben sandwiches, chicken fajitas and pineapple upside-down cake. Camps were comfortable, even luxurious by camping standards.

Rafting the Colorado River: Breakfast at Mee Canyon

The first part of the journey traveled through the Ruby and Horsethief canyons. This particular stretch of the river contains mostly placid, class I and II water and beautiful desert landscape. Huge red rock walls, calm green water and aromatic desert shrubs are experienced along the way. Birds of prey ride the drafts off the canyon walls while fish jump, leaving ripples on the water surface. It’s a perfect setting for a relaxing row by the oarsmen (and women) captaining the seven rafts on the trip. Two of the guides paddled stand up paddleboards while others simply rode on the bow of a raft. Regardless of the mode of travel, each member of the group enjoyed being out in the desert away from the hustle and bustle of real life. Spending time on a desert river allows for the unmistakable feeling of freedom without worry. No electronic devices, no bills to pay, just the great outdoors with great friends.

Rafting the Colorado River: Precambrian Rock in Westwater Canyon

The group spent the first couple days of our adventure on this part of the river. Popular activities included playing in the water, relaxing by the fire and playing Bocce Ball or Washers. On our layover day, most of the group hiked up Mee Canyon. I stayed back to wait for a couple of our other guides friends who would be meeting us at camp that day. It was nice to spend time soaking in the view. I watched river otters play and waved at other groups of rafters heading down river. We left camp the next day and spent time jumping off the rocks in the Blackrock area before moving on to the Westwater Canyon section of the Colorado River for some exhilarating class III and IV whitewater.

Westwater Canyon is one of the most popular overnight river trips in the Western Colorado/Eastern Utah area. It is the only place, other than the Grand Canyon where a whitewater traveler can see Precambrian rocks like Vishnu Schist and Zoroaster Granite. These rocks and the large, steep canyon walls give it a feel very similar the Grand Canyon. The short, but action packed section of whitewater within the Westwater Canyon area provide for a very wet and wild experience for river runners.

Rafting the Colorado River in Westwater Canyon did not disappoint for our employee trip. We saw mostly warm sunny weather, with just a little rain while running the rapids when you are wet anyway. Most all of the rapids were run successfully by the seasoned guides, smashing through large waves while smiling with joy. One raft, a smaller mini-me did flip in one of the larger rapids called Skull. The raft hit the main, large hydraulic in the rapid and was flipped instantly. But that was not unexpected because rowing a raft as small as the mini-me makes for a wild ride. All went well as the raft was easily righted once it was pulled into an eddy after the rapid. For our group, there is nothing more satisfying than traveling together on a river and running big rapids.

Rafting the Colorado River: Rafts and Paddleboards enter Westwater Canyon

The trip ended with one final night at camp with rowdy campfire discussions about the day of running whitewater. Final rounds of washers and bocce ball were played to determine trip champions and the group enjoyed one last gourmet camp meal. It was another memorable addition to the river logs of the veteran guides and an unforgettable first multi-day experience for a few others. The trip fortified the already tight bond between coworkers. Can’t wait to do it again. A multi-day adventure rafting the Colorado River, or any other river for that matter, is an unbeatable experience. And for our group, it was a perfect way to unwind and celebrate another season doing what we love: guiding rafts on the Cache La Poudre River.

photos by Melissa Matsunaka

Rafting the Colorado River: Calm Waters of Ruby/Horsethief Canyon
Rafting the Colorado River: Sitting Around Camp in the Morning
Rafting the Colorado River: View from Camp at Mee Canyon

Rafting the Colorado River: Melissa Takes a Selfie During Lunch One
Rafting the Colorado: Little Deloris Camp in Westwater Canyon
Rafting the Colorado River: Backflip at Blackrock