On the River: Ripping through Glenwood Canyon
August 16, 2005
“Ripping” and “radical” aren’t exactly the right words to describe a mid-August raft trip through Glenwood Canyon.The water flow, measured in cubic feet per second, was a little more than 1,000 cfs, far below the 9,000 cfs at the season’s peak a few months ago. The big water wasn’t very big and the medium water was pretty tame. But if you can live without much adrenaline and live with the jokes and history-speak of your guide, a commercial trip through the lower canyon can be worthwhile.Our trip was guided by Justin, an employee at Rock Gardens Rafting located in lovely No Name. Originally from New Jersey, Justin graduated from Green Mountain College in Vermont with a degree in adventure recreation. Before joining the crew at No Name, Justin has held positions as a guide in the desert wilderness of Utah, the forested islands of Puget Sound and the jungles of Costa Rica.(Adventure recreation – it’s the kind of degree that makes you wonder why the heck you were studying accounting.)Even though he was a newcomer to the area, Justin did an admirable job of both guiding the raft and sharing the history of the area. (For instance, he was correct about the original name of Glenwood Springs. It used to be called Defiance.)And the trip wasn’t without excitement. For 5-year-old Ruby Meade, on her first float trip, the whole darn trip was an adrenaline rush. She spent much of the trip straddling the bow of the boat with a perma-grin stuck on her face.In one of the rougher stretches, a young girl named Cheyenne was thrown from the boat. Obviously frightened, Cheyenne yelled for help. Justin turned the boat around and barked out a command to his crew of amateur rafters, most of whom were too panicked to obey. But even with just two people following orders, Justin was able to guide our raft over to the young girl (maybe 10) and pluck her out of harm’s way.Things were pretty uneventful the rest of the trip. But everyone (even Cheyenne) had a good time – which means Justin did his job, and we got our money’s worth.