Last October I bought a 16′ Cataraft. Her name is Ruby Lee, (not pictured above) and I’ve been sinking money and time into getting her ready for next season ever since. My excitement and anticipation for this coming raft season is nigh on unquantifiable. As such, I spend most every day and night thinking, studying or dreaming of rafting. I figure roughly somewhere around March 20th of this year I’ll be able to take her out again for the first chilly float of the season, and as the title suggests, I’m counting down the days until it happens.
I did get the chance to take one trip last Fall before the weather got really cold, and the trip was amazing. I borrowed the various pieces of gear I was missing from friends to get on the river, and while I don’t have a trailer, I was able to strap my frame and all my gear into my truck and make the drive out to Loma to launch and spend my birthday weekend on Ruby/Horsethief.
The trip wound up being truly awesome, despite being so late in the year (late October/early November.) We had a small group, just two 16′ boats. On my boat I brought myself, my girlfriend Sara, her brother Eric, and my best friend Ryan. Sara’s friend Liz came with her boat and her boyfriend Corbin. We spent 1 night camped outside of Fruita and two nights camped on the River. The first night we stayed at Fault Line 2 and the second night we camped at Black Rock 9. The first two days on the river the weather was awesome, mid 70s, not really swimming weather, but super comfortable for shorts and chacos. The nights were both cold, and both a little rainy, but a decent tent makes short work of that. The last day was really the high point in my mind. It began raining shortly after we got on river, so all the packing was easy and clean, but then persisted the whole float to the take out. At one point, the rain turned to hail, and it came down hard. What this did to the river was breathtaking. The water all around us leapt into action, leaping straight up as if exploding with excitement. Shortly after, the hail subsided but, the rain continued. This heavy burst of water and hail had not only lit up the river, but now the canyon walls were coming alive. Waterfalls gushed over the edges in countless places all around us. You could gaze around noticing waterfall after waterfall cascading into the canyon and the river.
The breathtaking scenery above is a common occurrence when rafting, and in addition to being easy on the eyes, it’s truly a blessing on the nerves. The canyon walls you get to ride within are testaments to the time and force that it took to create them. Wildlife of all kinds appear curiously as you float by, and the gentle rock of the river can coax you into a deep relaxation, especially with the help of a beer. The ways in which the river can affect you are many and your milage may vary, but they are almost all wondrous in my opinion. I can’t possibly recommend the activity highly enough. And rest assured, until the season returns, I’ll be counting the days.