A handful of years ago we created a travel bucket list with one simple rule – an item can only be crossed-off if the four of us experience it together. Our goal is to accomplish as much as we can before our not-so-little birds leave the nest. While we’ve been able to accomplish some of the list (sunrise hike in the Grand Canyon, hike the Austrian Alps, go to the top of the Eiffel Tower, ride in a London cab, airboat in the Everglades, and more), we’ve still have many items left on the list (snorkel off the coast of Australia, an African Safari, hike Mt. Fuji, and attend a Hawaiian luau to name just a few). But on our trip last weekend to Vail, Colorado, we were able to put a check mark next to item we’ve been waiting for our youngest bird to be old enough to experience – whitewater rafting on the Colorado River.
Soon after purchasing airline tickets, we booked an adventure with Lakota Guides to ensure that we’d be able to go whitewater rafting during our time in Colorado. They offer a variety of excursions with certain age-restrictions and an array of time-commitments. We chose a beginner 4-hour rafting adventure that required kids to be 7+. The meet-up spot was only about 15 minutes from Vail Village and from there, we rode about 40 minutes in a van driven by our guide to the launch site.
We were with another family of four with kids similar ages on their first rafting adventure, which worked out perfectly. Together we learned the ins and outs of rafting and thanks to our extensive kayaking and SUP experience, we picked it up quickly.
We only experienced up to Class 2+ rapids, which left us all wanting more but we understood the age-restrictions in place. We had a blast paddling down the Colorado River and look forward to many more whitewater rafting adventures – we really want to do a camping/rafting trip sooner rather than later.
The water temperature was about 65 degrees, which was refreshing after paddling in the heat of the day. We saw quite a bit of wildlife and the scenery did not disappoint because Colorado is absolutely beautiful.
Whitewater rafting on the Colorado River was a fantastic experience for our family and we can’t wait to raft down other famed rivers in the world – with the exception of the Nile because the crocodiles there are absolutely terrifying. Our first float was definitely tame by whitewater standards so we look forward to more adventurous rafting experiences as the kids get older. There is something to be said about pushing comfort zones and working together to accomplish a goal as a family outdoors. What isn’t there to love about that?