GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - With snowpack up and river conditions healthier than recent years, Grand Junction's Adventure Bound, a commercial raft-trip organizer, has lots to celebrate. This year also marks a big birthday - 50 years in business and 2013 trips are already underway.
"As of last Monday, it was reported that the Colorado Drainage is at 93 percent of normal," said owner/operator Tom Kleinschnitz. "We're in a pattern of getting regular spring moisture. That's a wonderful thing. It's nice to see water out there."
Adventure Bound currently offers whitewater rafting trips throughout Colorado and Utah on the Green River, the Colorado River and the Yampa River. This season, rafting tours will run regularly through September weather permitting, with charter trips into the fall.
Plus, Kleinschnitz provides inflatable kayaks as part of Adventure Bound's offerings.
"We're known for inflatable kayaks," he said. "It's different than passive raft trips. It's fun to paddle, and it adds an element of participation."
According to lead raft guide Darin Hunt, showing people the region and "filling their minds with the history" of the area is also a significant part of every guided adventure.
"Commercial rafting trips are a fantastic way for a novice to experience the river," he noted, "and a (good) way to get away and leave the technological world behind. ... There are lots of people living in the valley that haven't been down the river. I think everyone should have it on their bucket list."
Adventure Bound has grown significantly over the years, but its mission to expose folks to the natural beauty of the area has stayed the same.
According to Kleinschnitz, the company was founded in 1963 by Keith Counts, an educator on the Front Range, who began "doing trips for youth groups and kids at risk."
"At its conception, Adventure Bound had just a couple of military surplus rafts and authorization to run in Dinosaur National Monument on the Yampa and Green rivers," the company website said. "Since then, our business has grown to keep up with the increasing popularity of outdoor recreation. Today, we have a wide variety of rafts and dozens of inflatable kayaks in our fleet. We offer trips in five different locations throughout the Colorado Plateau. Our trips include Yampa Canyon and Lodore Canyon in Dinosaur National Monument, Desolation Canyon on the Green River, as well as, Cataract Canyon and Ruby Canyon, both on the Colorado River."
Kleinschnitz, also an avid rafter, began working for the company as a guide in 1971.
"I bought Adventure Bound in 1985, a year after my daughter was born," he explained. "She now works in the office here. Time keeps marching on!"
"The owner, Tom, is a guide, a father figure, and a best friend. He's everything wrapped into one. The loyalty and sense of family has kept Adventure Bound around," Hunt added.
Hunt said he's spent the last 18 rafting seasons working as a guide with Kleinschnitz, and he'll keep coming back (as many other guides do, too).
"It's a long, long heritage," he said. "Once you're Adventure Bound, you're always Adventure Bound."
To book a trip, visit Adventure Bound's website at www.adventureboundusa.com or call 970-245-5428.