On this fairly narrow stretch of the Upper Roaring Fork that translated to Class 4 rapids. (Class 4 means a strong swimmer should be able to swim out if he's thrown overboard. Class 5 means he couldn't, and MUST be rescued. Class 6, the highest, means if you fall overboard they hope they can some day find your body.)
Our group met on Sunday early afternoon and were given instructions by the Head Dude on how to stay alive if you fall out (obviously a CYA exercise):
We split up into 3 groups of 6 and headed out. The water was a frigid 38 degrees. The first few minutes were rather calm, giving us time to contemplate what it would be like to get dunked in 38 degree water:
Kelly and I took the front, most vulnerable positions...."If you're gonna be a bear, be a Grizzly!" We shortly hit a churning section and found our wet suits helped...until a wave went right down the front of my "splash jacket" and got me wet inside my suit. O...M...G! Note K was playing Wonder Woman and refused a splash jacket:
There was some spectacular scenery along the way and some absolutely gorgeous homes on the riverbank and on the overlooking cliffs....I'm talking $10-$20M "cabins"....but without our own cameras (no time) we didn't get any shots. The rafting company guy took these from the bank along the way:
When it was all over and we had warmed up some K and I compared notes and we confessed that I almost went overboard twice and she three times. There was a pocket sewn into the bottom of the raft at each position for us to tuck one foot in, the other foot free to provide balance. (I found I have very little balance when I'm gasping for air!)
K said once she saw a big wall of water coming so she ducked her head and closed her eyes and mouth, then after it hit she opened them up and got hit by an immediate second wave, which left her half blind and spitting water for a few seconds.
It was an absolute blast, and if you ever have the opportunity I suggest you jump at it. It's hard to be scared when you're grinning ear-to-ear. I...we...look forward to our next trip. Thanks Aspen Whitewater Rafting Company. :)