One of the most exciting activity for us in the Spring was a 2-day whitewater rafting trip on the south fork of the American River. Last year, when Mimi and I took the girls on their very first whitewater rafting trip in Whistler, they loved it, but were underwhelmed with the small rapids from that Class II run. This time around, we signed up for a Class III run and knew it would be a lot more fun and exciting, especially with the El Nino rain we got earlier in the year.
We went on the first weekend of May, which was still quite early in the season and required wetsuits, due to the icy temperature of the water. Adventure Connection was the company we went with, based on online reviews, and we lucked out with some really awesome guides. They were highly experienced, which helped in minimizing overboard situations, and kept everyone entertained on the raft in between rapids. Pricing was pretty steep though ($1028 for the three of us), and we learned from others on the trip that there’s always room for negotiation with these companies, especially during non-peak days. We probably paid more than we should have, but at least we have a point of reference for next year.
We started driving north at the crack of dawn, to make our call time of 9am. It took about 2 hours for everyone to arrive, get fitted for wetsuits, and to go through the safety course, so by the time we actually hit the water, it was close to noon already.
Bridgette was the youngest one there, which is usually the case whenever we take her along on our adventures. 🙂 This meant that she got the special treatment from all the other participants, who were kind enough to always help us keep a close eye on her to make sure she was not only safe, but also having a great time.
We rafted down the Gorge on the first day, stopping for a delicious BBQ lunch half way. The rapids were exhilarating and a bit scary at times, but because our guide was so fantastic, we never at any point felt unsafe.
After lunch, we continued our journey on the river and were pumped up to conquer more rapids. During some of the slower legs, our guide challenged us to swim in the freezing water and ofcourse, my hubby met the challenge with zero resistance. As for me, I was perfectly happy to stay warm and dry in my wetsuit on the raft. 🙂
We finished up in the late afternoon and began setting up our tent at the campsite, which took awhile since we borrowed all of our camping gear from our friends. After we were done, we got to enjoy the serenity of the campsite as our guides prepared a delicious dinner for us.
We were the only ones amongst our raft mates to sign up for the 2-day excursion, so everyone we met earlier had gone home. That was disappointing because camping is always more fun with a bigger crowd. Fortunately, a young couple arrived right before dinner, so we weren’t entirely by ourselves. We quickly (and eagerly) made friends with them, and learned that they lead very interesting careers. He is a successful YouTuber (The Nerd Writer) and she is a tv show host for the Discovery Channel. Needless to say, we wanted to know all about their jobs, and Bridgette was immediately inspired to become a future YouTuber. 🙂
That night, we slept soundly by the river, and woke up early the next morning for another day of water rafting. The second day promised to be even more exciting as we were to raft the Chile Bar. The rapids had names like Meatgrinder and Troublemaker, so one can only imagine what was awaiting us. 🙂
The rapids on the second day were definitely more wild, but with our guide’s expert instructions and a terrific team of raft mates, we survived and had a ton of fun along the way! Nobody felt overboard, though there were definitely a few instances were I nearly toppled over. 🙂 Can’t wait to go back next year, hopefully with more of our friends joining us! Here’s a short video I made of the trip: