Thursday, November 26, 2009

White Water Rafting On The Arkansas River, A Colorado Adventure, A Family Affair

Picture this. It’s the 3rd week in June, it’s 10:30 AM, and our party of six and our guide shove off into the cool waters of the Arkansas River Bighorn Sheep Canyon. The 15 minute ride from the office to the departure point was light-hearted and filled with anticipation. The guides added to the excitement with their friendly banter.

After the guides unload the rafts from the bus top and the trailer and the rafts are put into the water, the group gathers around at the river’s edge. Casey, our guide, runs through the safety rules and the worse-case emergency situations with the final question, “So, are you scared yet? Good! Then let’s go.”

Within the next 2 to 3 minutes we practice our left back paddle, right paddle, and all paddle 3 commands. By the end of the rafting trip two hours later, we are just beginning to feel like a team that can respond to our guide’s commands and ride victoriously through the river’s challenges – any challenge. We might at this point be a little over confident. As first-time rafters, we may not know the subtle differences between class II-III rapids and those farther down the river through the Royal Gorge.

Somehow, from our beginning skill level of zero, we manage to ride the rapids, maneuver successfully around the rocks jutting up in the middle of the river (most of them!) and around the rocks that the current drives us toward, and with Casey’s expertise and adventurous spirit we ride down a few rapids backwards.

With some gentle persuasion after I have been well washed with a few soaking rapids, he obliges my request and we meet the next rapid’s challenges with the opposite side of the raft, for my wife’s benefit. She has stayed all too dry up to this point.

How can I describe it? We point the raft straight toward the rapids. “All paddle!” Casey shouts. We all paddle forward. As we hit the first rapid, the front of the raft hardly takes any water. We seem to skim over the troughs formed by the rapids, from top to top. Sometimes as I stroke forward with the paddle to pull it back, I pull air. Only the trough is below us. I can’t reach the water. Then the next wave crashes into the raft, soaking us all, the two leaders in front gasping a breath through the streaming water. From someone in the raft erupts a shout, “Yeah! Wow! What a ride!” And we’re through that set of rapids.

During the more quiet moments, some of the younger boys in one of our neighboring rafts jump in for a swim. We take some pictures, and trade stories, fully enjoying one of nature’s challenging forces, fully enjoying our newly-found unity and purpose as a river rafting team. Seldom in my life has the sky seemed more blue, the water more inviting, or the adventure more satisfying. The two-hour trip is all too short, and I loathe getting out of the river and back on the bus. I am ready to do the Royal Gorge and its class IV-V rapids!

RIVERRUNNERS can host your entire family (8 years of age and older) for an exhilarating, unforgettable rafting excursion on the Arkansas River through Big Horn Sheep Canyon. Now during early summer is an ideal time, but don’t write off late summer thinking the water level will be too low. For the family the entire summer is a great time. RIVERRUNNERS offers a variety of half day or full day trips from easy to demanding even for the experienced rafter. In addition to Royal Gorge and Bighorn Sheep Canyon, the company offers trips through Browns Canyon, the Numbers, and Pine Creek. Their Utah based ADRIFT ADVENTURES offers daily, 4-day and 5-day rafting vacations through the Yampa River Canyon, Green River, Lodor Canyon, and Dinosaur National Monument. Indeed, there is a trip and an adventure for everyone.

The staff is experienced, requiring 100 hours of rafting experience before being allowed to guide a raft. The equipment is kept in excellent repair, and the company’s attention to detail, including each participant’s personal needs and limitations, is admirable. We thoroughly enjoyed our trip with RIVERRUNNERS, and our next full-day rafting trip, including the Royal Gorge and class V rapids, will be with them. Get ready Casey, because we’re requesting you for our guide.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Good Belize Hotel as a Base For a Belize Adventure Vacation

Belize has such contrasts from the beaches to the jungle to the Mayan ruins, from the rivers to the Cayes, needs a good base to see it all, so check out the Black Orchid Resort..

Any Tour Package to Belize must include all the sights. It seems a shame to hide away on a Caye, even if diving is your passion. Equally silly to spend your entire time in the jungle viewing ancient Mayan Ruins, or just sitting on a beach in the Caribbean sunshine, when there is so much to see and do. The problem is where do you base yourself so you can be sure your tour package to Belize gives you the adventure you want, and the relaxation and down time your body needs as well.

Such a place is the Black Orchid Resort on the banks of the Belize Old River on the outskirts of Burrell Boom Village, is just twenty minutes from the international airport so its easy to reach and easy to leave from.

There are three different types of people here, with the first being people who have spent a week or more on their Belize adventure vacation who now need some R & R. The Black Orchid Resort is a great place for that, because you can just lie in a hammock sipping a cool tropical drink and then taking a quick dip into the pool for body refreshment. All they really want to do is chill out and relax, and if they feel up to it they go down to the river and canoe, kayak or just paddle boat, or even take a power boat trip up the river.

The second group have just arrived off a long haul flight, and are recovering before starting an arduous round of all that Belize has to offer, with packing and unpacking, a different hotel or inn every two or three nights to return exhausted to await their flight out.

You are the third group who know exactly what they want to see and do and the wonderfully helpful staff at the Black Orchid Resort will ensure it happens. You see the rest of belize can easily be reached from the Black Orchid Resort. As a consequence of this they arrange a whole host of Belize adventure vacation tours, and give you the best of all worlds with a great tour package to Belize. So if you want to go diving, snorkelling, fishing, sailing, then you can. If you want to go hiking or visiting some of the offshore Cayes, then just ask. The ancient Mayan Ruins and their archaeology can be explained and explored on a private tour if that is what you want.

Wonderfully there is the Black Orchid Resort to return to with its very comfortable accommodation, a great three meals every day, and the pool to wash away the dust and the tiredness.

When it is time to go, you will be very sorry to leave such a hotel, that has such willing staff, that organizes wonderful trips, and probably you are one of the few guests who is in on the secret, that there is no need to leave the Black Orchid Resort to have your Belize Adventure vacation, because you can organize it from here.