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White Water Rafting for the Newbie

- Caroline

White Water Rafting – three words together on my bucket list that I can now check off! I love being outside, in or around water, and always looking for a new adventure. If this sounds like you at all then I highly recommend white water rafting.

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Since neither my dad nor I have never been rafting (of any sorts) we were a little nervous the day of. We decided to start smaller with a man made river at Adventures Sports Center International. The type of river ASCI has (and there are very few in the country) looks and feels like a typical river except the water is pumped into the river rather than the natural current. The water runs over cement (much like a swimming pool rather than a pond) so there are no water-life creatures, undertow, plants, rocks, or any other obstacles that you can’t quite see that a natural river is home to. This is good for beginners like we were because if we were to be thrown from our raft (and trust me it almost happened) then it’s safer to stand up and walk towards the edge. See how calm the water looks in the photo below? This is after the rafting was over and the current was turned off.

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For the future rafters out there I’ll share a few things I learned after my first time white water rafting.

  1. You WILL get wet, so plan ahead. You don’t have to rent a wet suit, but it’s best to wear clothes that won’t stick or drag you down when they get wet (like cotton clothes will). I wore a wind breaker that I would wear if it were raining out so water could slide off of it easily. This also means you should pack dry clothes to change into when you’re done. 
  2. Keep Paddling. We thought we would be able to just coast down the shore with little to no work. This was not the case. It is an upper body test at some points, but there were also times that we had a break. You have to listen to your guide at all times. We learned this when a wave came up and we stopped paddling in surprise; we quickly found ourselves with a raft filled with water. We had to paddle hard in order to keep from sinking.
  3. Have Fun! Best rule ever. Everyone looks dorky in a life jacket and a helmet. But as the saying goes, everyone is in the same boat (or raft in this case!) Don’t hesitate to laugh at yourself, relax and go with the flow (or current)!
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