8:45 am: We meet at the Pinnacle Rock Recreation Site, which is the starting point for our full day adventure through the Gorge. There are parking, changing, and restroom facilities at the site. Due to the distance from our headquarters and timing of this trip, we are not able to provide the complementary continental breakfast that guests coming to our headquarters in Buena Vista have come to expect. Plan ahead for breakfast so you have plenty of energy for the morning!
9:30 am: We start this trip upstream in Bighorn Sheep Canyon and have the morning to prepare our skills in moderate Class III-IV whitewater that is comparable to the popular Browns Canyon section. Rapids such as Shark’s Tooth, Spike Buck, and Three Rocks will keep us busy training for the more difficult rapids coming up in the Gorge in the afternoon.
In June, when the river is swollen with snowmelt, prepare for a wet and wild ride with towering waves and powerful currents – a wetsuit is required for rafting at this time of year. During late July and August, the river changes, requiring technical maneuvers around rocks and dropping through narrow chutes. As the river warms, wetsuits disappear and are replaced by swimsuits, providing opportunities to splash fight with new friends or even swim a rapid. The environment along the river hosts a mix of water loving cottonwoods, pinion pines (pinion nuts are a major ingredient of pesto), and even scores of the jointed cholla cactus with their beautiful pink blossoms. If you have a sharp eye, you may even see a herd of Bighorn Sheep!
12:00 pm: A well-deserved lunch break gives you time to dry out and stretch your legs while soaking in the sweeping mountain views. Enjoy some tasty hors d’oeuvres while the guides prepare a hearty, deli-style lunch. Clean and well-maintained vault toilets are available for your comfort.
1:00 pm: After lunch, it is only a short distance downstream on gently moving water before we enter a cleft in the towering walls of the Royal Gorge. Get ready for action because the Gorge’s Class IV-V whitewater is demanding, with little room for error. Rapids come fast and furiously! El Primero and El Segundo will get you ready for the climax of the day: Sunshine, Sledgehammer, Dire Straits, Wall Slammer, Boat Eater and Corner Pocket. These rapids come in quick succession as you pass through the narrowest part of the Gorge. We’ll fly by the base of the cog railway, and pass underneath the world’s highest suspension bridge. This is what everyone comes for and never forgets!
There is a little time to unwind and relive the excitement of “The Gorge” before reaching our takeout in Canon City. Your shuttle vehicle will be waiting at the “take-out”. It doesn’t take long to load up and head back to your car, about a 20-minute drive. We’ll have a snack and cold drink on the drive and stop at Colorado Whitewater Photography to pick up 8 x 10 photos of your crew professionally taken at Sunshine Rapid.
4:00 pm: When we get back to your car at Pinnacle Rock, you may purchase photos, or order them for home delivery. You may also choose to remember your trip with a T-shirt or pair of shorts. What a great way to spend a day!
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USA Colorado Outdoor: Water Drifter Canoeing/Kayaking/Rafting
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