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Spring runoff spells positive outlook for rafters

Spring runoff spells positive outlook for rafters

CANON CITY, Colo. - Melting spring snow is filling up the Arkansas River, making for a promising outcome for whitewater rafting guides.

Even though southern Colorado is dealing with drought, there is plenty of water in the high country to fill up the Arkansas River.

"The spring's been amazing," said James Whiteside, owner of Royal Gorge Rafting. "It's brought us about three times the snow pack that we had last year."

Kendra Pollard went on her first whitewater rafting trip Sunday. "I'm most excited just to be on the water and it's nice out so that's great, but I'm a little nervous to tip over and like the rocks and stuff scare me a little bit," Pollard said.

Royal Gorge Rafting began its rafting season two weeks ago. Rafters are using smaller boats now as they wait for spring runoff to bring more water to the river.

Sill, there is plenty of rough water and rocks for rafters to paddle their way through.

"June is where we start seeing the higher water flows and that can run all the way into July- just depends on what the summer does. It's unpredictable," Whiteside said.

Ashley Nevins was also experiencing her first whitewater rafting adventure. "My friends always like to do zip lining and all of that kind of stuff, but I'm scared of heights so I'm excited to do this," she said.

Even though Canon City wasn't in the Waldo Canyon burn area, rafting companies along the Arkansas River experienced a nearly 20 percent drop in visitors last year. Companies are optimistic this year will be their chance to make a comeback.

For information on rafting trips on the Arkansas River, visit: www.RaftTheBest.com

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