Hardly treading water: Glenwood rafting companies anticipate big year in 2015
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Rafting companies in the Glenwood Springs area are excited about the summer months to come following a rainy spring that brought high river flows.
Patrick Drake, co-owner of Blue Sky Adventures, said it’s been perfect for safer, higher-rapid rafting going into the holiday weekend.
“We couldn’t be happier about our water levels,” Drake said.
He said the water flow has gone down from 11,000 cubic feet per second to 6,000 cfs, which Drake said Tuesday is a good level to allow rafting companies to start running the Shoshone rapids just east of Grizzly Creek.
“We like to stress safety and making important decisions,” Drake said, noting how Shoshone has the most continuous rapids.
Erik Larrson, co-owner of Whitewater Rafting LLC, also said his guides were heading out Tuesday morning for their first trip of the season to Shoshone.
“Super stoked about it. It’s the most fun you can have,” Larrson said.
High-river flows early in the season put a “downward pressure” on sales, Larrson said. Families with children worried about the flows, but it’s now tapered off, he said.
“We were really waiting for it to come down,” Larrson said. “It’s going to be great for the rafting companies.”
Ken Murphy, owner of Glenwood Canyon Adventures, was just as excited about the season.
“It’s awesome. It’s been a great season so far,” Murphy said. “Rafting in general is a big attraction in town.”
Running Shoshone depends on how Mother Nature affects the Colorado River’s water flows through Glenwood Canyon before the July 4 holiday, he said.
Troy Rarick pumped air into his raft at the Grizzly Creek put-in.
From Fruita, Rarick and his girlfriend, Brittany Phelps, are the adventurous types. They like to rock climb and do white water stuff, he said, but they haven’t done a lot of rafting. They talked about putting in near the power plant, but they were unsure if they could handle it.
“We’re accepting our rookiness,” Rarick said.
They had their lifejackets, food and water to prepare for the experience.
“It’s the perfect Glenwood day,” Rarick said.
Holly Stearns waited at the same put-in spot with her 5-year-old son Nash. Her husband, Mark, and other son, 14-year-old Desmond, had put in further up. Nash was too little for that spot, so they waited to be picked up, she said.
From Mesa, Ariz., Stearns and her family had come to Glenwood last year for the hot springs, but didn’t get a chance to go rafting.
“We wanted to come back and go rafting because it’s so pretty,” Stearns said.
“It’s the perfect time,” she added.
As Stearns waited, two large school buses from Rock Gardens Rafting with dozens of rafts in tow arrived at the area.
Parker Dotsey, one of the guides, already had his lifejacket on and an oar in hand.
A guide with the company for a few years, he said today was a good day. Like the other companies, he was excited about running Shoshone later in the week.
It wasn’t going to happen Tuesday, though.
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