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Adventure Afloat

Top-notch rafting destinations



 


If you’ve rafted before, you know the feeling. Floating on crystal clear water, surrounded on both sides by untouched wilderness. Bald eagles circle lazily over a sheer cliff. A fox and its litter drink from the river’s edge. The earthy smell of pine and dirt mixed with the babble of water – so grounding that for a moment, you almost forget that you’ve got a thousand emails waiting for you when you get home. And then, your guide tells you that it’s time to start paddling …
 

Suddenly you remember why you’ve got a helmet on your head, plus you already have a bruise on your cheek from a flailing limb earlier in the day and you vaguely recall that, during the pre-trip safety meeting, someone mentioned a former guest and a snapped femur. Now a class four rapid awaits – what you fear the most, but also what you’ve come for. Before you know it, the current catches you and the next few seconds are an odd amalgamation of yelling and exhilaration with a smattering of blacking out. Faster than you can say “dry bag,” the water smooths out. Your heart pounds, and you are more alive than you can ever remember. The hiking and biking and the fresh air are great, but this is why you’ve come to the mountains.

When it comes to adventure vacation, rarely is there a higher pinnacle for the trip than the day you decide to hit the rapids. No matter what part of the country you’re in, or how many days you’re on the water, river rafting is a must for every mountain-bound adventurer. Here are a few of our picks for the most incredible rafting adventures across the country.

 

When thinking about rafting, Colorado is, more often than not, the first state that comes to an Okie’s mind – and with good reason. A day’s drive away, Colorado offers countless opportunities to get into the water. Among our favorites is Echo Canyon River Expeditions on the Arkansas River. One of the largest in the state and celebrating 41 years in business, Echo Canyon runs not only half-day to multi-day white-water rafting opportunities, but also the 8 Mile Bar and Grill, private outdoor event spaces and an outdoor game area. Last year, they also opened the luxury Royal Gorge Cabins, in addition to four glamping tents.

 

The Mountain Lakes region of South Carolina is one of the country’s greatest wilderness areas. The lakes and streams are ripe with outdoor adventure opportunities, and rafting is certainly one of them. This year, the Chattooga River celebrates its 50th anniversary as a “Wild and Scenic River,” and “wild” and “scenic” describe it perfectly. WildWater Rafting offers zip-line canopy tours and on-site yurt lodging, and their guides create some of the best rafting opportunities on the east side of the country.

 

Few states offer as many unique travel opportunities as Oregon, and Southern Oregon is exploding with incredible things to do. Quaint towns such as Medford and Ashland boast innovative farm-to-table restaurants, and the wine country is unrivaled. Crater Lake is one of the country’s most striking national parks, but if you want to really get down and dirty in Oregon, rafting the Rogue River or the Upper Klamath are the best ways to do it.

Both Momentum River Expeditions and Indigo Creek Outfitters offer a variety of rafting opportunities. Momentum focuses on high-end trips that are as short as half a day or that run up to nine days. Momentum’s effort in organic cuisine and the camping experience is as great as the rapids you will raft. Indigo Creek Outfitters offers an assortment of opportunities to get on the water and incorporate local brews, wines and stand-up paddle boarding into their adventures.

 

Andre Reyes, Riversport OKC rafting manager


 

► Tips for Your Trips


The 405 travel team talked to Riversport OKC rafting manager Andre Reyes for tips on how to make the most of your river rafting adventure, and here is what he had to say:
 

• Be prepared. Wear the right gear. This includes clothes you’re comfortable getting wet in and secure shoes, such as tennis shoes or secure sandals.

• Remember sunscreen. And wear it. Nothing ruins a trip more than a sunburn.

• Gear up. The organization you’re rafting with may provide personal floatation devices and a helmet. If not, bring your own. Make sure you get the right size, and have a friend help you tighten the straps for a snug fit.

• Safety first! Be clear regarding levels of difficulty. This isn’t the wild river ride at your local theme park. Rivers are classified on a scale from one to six – one being a meandering river to six being an intense waterfall. Before you head out, call a local kayak center or your guide and ask about the conditions of the river.

• If you don’t want to lose it, don’t bring it. Don’t bring anything that you wouldn’t mind losing overboard. If you’re going to wear sunglasses, get a strap to keep them on your head, or be prepared to lose them forever.

• Paddle! It takes a team to get a raft safely down the river. Be ready to work! Your guide should teach a series of commands before hitting the water; do as you’re told and everyone will be fine. If your guide feels like he or she can’t rely on the crew, they’ll avoid the most exciting rapids.

• Raft (almost) all year long. Whitewater rafting is just as much fun in the spring as it is in the summer. On cooler days, wear non-cotton clothing or a wet suit. We rent splash jackets at Riversport Rapids.

• Get ready to have fun. You wouldn’t be on the river if you didn’t want to have fun! Relax, get to know your raft mates and your guide and enjoy your trip.

 


 

► Elaine Warner is... Adventure Grandma


The soubriquet “Adventure Grandma” is about half right: I am definitely a grandma. Most of the wildest things I’ve done have been to score points with my three grandsons, and since the boys are grown now, I don’t have to do those things. But I don’t mind watching others do them. That’s what I did when I visited Columbus, Georgia.
 

Columbus is on the Chattahoochee River. When I was there in 2007, there wasn’t much going on along their riverfront, but by the time I visited again in 2016 – wow, what a change.

That year, they started construction on what is described by USA Today as “one of the top 12 man-made adventures in the world.” Two dams were breached to create the world’s longest white-water urban rafting venue. By changing the amount of water released from the existing dams, they can create a 2.5-mile run with Class I to III rapids or a wilder ride with Class III to V rapids. More placid places on the river are perfect for even beginning kayakers.

In 2008, the only thing that got exercised for me was my patience, when I visited the Columbus Museum. I’m usually a gracious guest, but I was put off when the first thing I saw at the museum was a list of rules. No photography … and no pens. They handed us stubby golf course pencils. No way! If I couldn’t take pictures and I had to write with a tiny pencil, I would not write about them. And I didn’t.

A few years later, I needed an idea for an article and I remembered the museum. “Maybe I was just having an off day when I was there,” I thought. I went to the website and watched a video. The museum looked great – until the middle of the video, when they read out all the rules, and I got cheesed off all over again. So, no article!

Now, remembering my second visit and the great tie to this month’s travel theme, I thought about Columbus. In addition to the river, they have other great attractions. I called the museum. The staff has changed and the rules have relaxed a bit. Marketing Director Brigette Russell was charming and invited me back, promising me a personal tour.

I’d like to go back, and maybe I will choose the museum instead of the Class VI rapids. But if anyone hands me a stubby little pencil, someone’s going to get stabbed with it.

 

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September 2018

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More than 20 speakers in a one-track session designed for the digital marketing professional, marketer, business owner or anyone interested in branding, PR, advertising, social media, SEO, search,...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tower Theatre
425 NW 23rd St
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
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Sponsor: BigWing
Telephone: 405.475.4185
Contact Name: Janelle Archer
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This year will mark the eighth time the John F. Kennedy Awards have been celebrated, honoring individuals making a significant contribution to Oklahoma, its communities and its people, while paying...

Cost: $300

Where:
Skirvin Hilton Hotel
1 Park Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Sponsor: Santa Fe Family Life Center
Telephone: 405-840-1817
Contact Name: James Timberlake
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More than 20 speakers in a one-track session designed for the digital marketing professional, marketer, business owner or anyone interested in branding, PR, advertising, social media, SEO, search,...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tower Theatre
425 NW 23rd St
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: BigWing
Telephone: 405.475.4185
Contact Name: Janelle Archer
Website »

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Price Tower Art Gallery in Bartlesville will host Women Artists of the West's 48th annual juried art exhibition, featuring over 200 original art works, created by women in all mediums, subjects...

Cost: Free 2018-09-21,22,23

Where:
Price Tower Art Gallery
510 S. Dewey Ave.
Bartlesville, OK  74003
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Sponsor: Price Tower Arts Center
Telephone: 918.336.4949
Contact Name: Angelina Bourgou
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Escape the ordinary, and learn about OKC from a different point of view. Relax in the climate controlled cabin on one of our 65’ cruisers, or enjoy the breeze on the viewing deck and listen...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
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Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
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A fabulous art auction to raise money to help support Oklahoma A+ Schools at UCO.

Cost: $100

Where:
CHK|Central Boathouse
732 Riversport Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73129
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Sponsor: Oklahoma A+ Schools at UCO
Telephone: 405.974.3791
Contact Name: Heather Bryant
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The evening Cocktail Cruise offers stunning views of the downtown skyline, the Boathouse District and Finish Line Tower, the Wheeler Ferris wheel and quite possibly an amazing Oklahoma sunset. Come...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
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Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
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Join supporters in communities across the nation for the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This family-friendly event raises funds to support the...

Cost: $10 for adults or children six and older

Where:
Stars and Stripes Park
3701 S. Lake Hefner Drive
Oklahoma City , OK  73116
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Telephone: 405.403.7762
Contact Name: Emily Drover
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Let’s end childhood cancer. Together! This September, supporters across the country will unite to participate in the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer, an exciting, family-friendly...

Cost: $10 for Registration

Where:
Stars and Stripes Park
3701 S Lake Hefner Dr
Oklahoma City, OK  73116
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Sponsor: ALSAC St. Jude Oklahoma City
Telephone: 405.403.7762
Contact Name: Emily Drover
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Price Tower Art Gallery in Bartlesville will host Women Artists of the West's 48th annual juried art exhibition, featuring over 200 original art works, created by women in all mediums, subjects...

Cost: Free 2018-09-21,22,23

Where:
Price Tower Art Gallery
510 S. Dewey Ave.
Bartlesville, OK  74003
View map »


Sponsor: Price Tower Arts Center
Telephone: 918.336.4949
Contact Name: Angelina Bourgou
Website »

More information

Escape the ordinary, and learn about OKC from a different point of view. Relax in the climate controlled cabin on one of our 65’ cruisers, or enjoy the breeze on the viewing deck and listen...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

The evening Cocktail Cruise offers stunning views of the downtown skyline, the Boathouse District and Finish Line Tower, the Wheeler Ferris wheel and quite possibly an amazing Oklahoma sunset. Come...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

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