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Whitewater Rafting for Vacations

Sourabh Gupta
Whitewater rafting, also called river rafting, or just plain rafting, is a recreational sport that provides thrill and adventure. It is an experience that lasts a lifetime. During vacations, it is a good escapade, not only for adventuresome, but also for a family and kids.
Rafting was the earliest mode of transportation used across water bodies for moving food, supplies, and people. It was during the 1970s that it caught the people's attention who were looking for alternate adventure activities. The inclusion of this sport into the 1972 Munich Olympics was a major boost.

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This sport involves handling and navigating a raft safely across a river or a stream which has tempestuous or violent water.
Whitewater is formed when sections of a river suddenly slope downward, increasing the flow and speed of water, causing turbulence. These sections known as rapids, make the fast-flowing water frothy and white in appearance. Hence the name whitewater rafting.
Although, there are many adventurous sports like bungee jumping, paragliding, skiing, scuba diving, etc., those which can be enjoyed with the family and kids are very few.

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Rafting is one such activity which can excite everyone ― whether young or old, alone or with family and kids. Here are some excellent places to enjoy this sport:

Colorado River, The Grand Canyon

Nothing can be compared to the beauty of rafting at the Colorado river. It passes through the Grand Canyon National Park.
One can enjoy the hidden waterfalls falling from hundreds of feet, and the silence of Colorado, if you halt for the night. These are the exotic spots which are accessible only through the Colorado river.
Many tour operators provide 3, 4, 6, and 7 day packages which include scenic helicopter flights, rafting, hiking, and camping. Rafting vacations in the Grand Canyon are one of the best in the United States.

Rogue River, Oregon

The river in Oregon provides a great experience for a family rafting vacation. 
The canyon from Grave Creek to Foster Bar provides a spectacular view and people love it when they discover the hidden swimming pools.
In the 34 mile trip, you will come across a vast wildlife. The region is full of deer, black bears, turtles, mallard ducks, bald eagles, and ospreys.
The Rogue rafting vacation is one of the best wildlife viewing trip which comes at an affordable price. An old Oregon saying for rafting the Rogue, rightly states, "Relax in the state of excitement!"

Salmon River, Idaho

Idaho's Middle Fork of the Salmon river drops 3,000 feet through its course, making it extremely thrilling for the raft-men. The rafts are generally launched at 6,000 feet above sea level on the narrow steep river.
The rapids are frequent and as the river drops in elevation, it widens and opens up to vast granite mountains. The trips are usually of 5 to 6 days, covering 80 to 105 miles. The best season to visit Idaho is from June to September.

New River Gorge Rafting, West Virginia

This is another perfect spot. The canyon at the New River Gorge is commonly known as 'Grand Canyon of the East'.
The steep cliffs and the forests surrounding the canyon provide ample opportunity for other adventure sports such as rock climbing, hiking, and fishing.

Useful Tips

Rafting can be risky if precautions are not taken beforehand. Some things which need to be taken care of are:
  • Sign up for a multi-day trip instead of half or full day trip. This way you can learn the basics under proper supervision.
  • Always bring well-fitting shoes and clothes. Loose clothes are a strict 'NO'. Wearing loose fitting jewelry should be avoided.

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  • People who use contact lenses are advised not to wear them while rafting, as they may get contaminated by the river water. Wear spectacles instead.
  • Before leaving for such a trip, make sure that the weather forecasts are good.
  • Swimming at night in unsupervised areas should be avoided.
  • Wear your personal flotation device (PFD) always.
Whitewater river rafting is always a thrilling activity. The joy of experiencing the adventure with your family is priceless. You should experience it once, and after doing so, you may come back for more.