A River As My Playground: A Guide On Rafting


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There’s just something about the water – perhaps I was a mermaid once. Rivers make my heart race. What’s better on a summer day than swimming through rapids, riding the current and floating away?

While I love to travel the globe and seek out new rivers, I’m lucky to have the Cache La Poudre River in my own backyard. It runs through a beautiful canyon, cuts through town and delightfully changes its character every season based on snowfall, sunshine, fire and thunderstorms. She keeps me guessing, moving and is exactly where I turn to find tranquility.

River Play

What are the best ways to enjoy your own river? There are many, they just depend on your mood:

Feeling extreme? Try whitewater rafting. There are many local companies who will take you down the river – lifejacket, helmet, paddle and all. Your guide will tell you exactly what to do, just listen and paddle hard.

Are you more independent? Learn to kayak. The water transforms when you’re closer to it and a smaller vessel lets you manipulate the rapids with swift, dance-like movements.

You just want to get on the water? All you need is a tube. Tire tubes are both inexpensive and durable (which is necessary when you run into rocks – it happens to the best of us). Find yourself an eddy to get in, plop yourself onto the tube, use your arms to paddle into the current and enjoy the ride.

Staying dry today, but you still want to take it all in? Pack a picnic. Bring your hammock to string between a couple of trees as close to the river as you safely can – close your eyes for a nap or bring your favorite book and just be. Rolling water – over rocks and along canyon walls, brushing against sandy shores – is a vehicle of mysticism.

River Tech

In order to keep your day on the river lighthearted and fun, make sure to play safely. When used with helmets and lifejackets, technology can come in handy:

Water Level Stations App (Android – $1.99)

River Data App (iOS – Free)

It’s important to know what the water level and flow of the river is before you jump in. These apps allow you to monitor rivers throughout the U.S. in real-time, using GPS and advanced graphing.

OtterBox Preserver Series

Not having cell phone service on the river is fantastic and freeing, but I still bring my phone along to snap pictures of the adventure. With the Preserver Series case on my phone, I don’t worry about the big splash – I seek it out instead.

“I would love to live

Like a river flows,

Carried by the surprise

Of its own unfolding.”

–John O’Donohue



About the author

Alison Quinn

Alison Quinn

Travel and adventure are my favorite. Then reading and laughing and writing. And dancing! Wine, too. And music-definitely music. I think October is a quite superior time of year, and I always have glitter pens handy.

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