Rafting Boat

River Rafting Family Reunion and SplashingPhoto Credit:Carissa Rogers

If you are looking for something to do that will take your breath away for the weekend, get on the river. The exhilaration and adrenaline rush from facing a raging river is enough for the craziest of junkies. If you’re after an alternative destination for a summer trip, or even during the weekend break, then an exhilarating whitewater rafting trip should be just the thing to get your blood going. From the moment you cast off from the banks, to your first rapids, up to the end of your rafting expedition, the entire whitewater rafting vacation is sure to refresh you for another take on everyday life.

The Various Levels of Rafting

Since whitewater rafting means having to tackle a more or less free-flowing river with varying elevations, specialists have come up with several different classifications of rapids. The first four levels are the ones most commonly found in whitewater rafting tour packages, and can easily be managed by beginners.

The first two levels are nothing more than a sudden drop in elevation. In these rapids, the river picks up speed and makes navigation just a little bit more difficult. In the second level, the placement of natural barriers such as rocks and cliff walls add to the difficulty.

Level three rapids are trickier than the previous two, due to its physical characteristics. The sudden burst of speed is accompanied by a gauntlet of rocks that can easily sink your raft. Some level threes can be found on river bends, which adds to the technical difficulty of the rapid.

Level four combines all three rapids into a single series of long and difficult set of rapids. The mere fact that navigation through a level four rapid is almost impossible without extensive rowing experience makes the level four the toughest of all manageable whitewater rapids there is. Beginners are advised to avoid all river tours that involve these types of rapids.

The Gorge

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The Canyon

Now, if you’re going for a river rafting escapade, you’ll have to prepare yourself really well. One thing people tend to think about whitewater rafting is that it’s a dangerous sport. At some points, it is, since a fast-moving river can easily maim or take a life. But more often than not, you’ll probably be renting the services of a professional rafting outfit, and these provide river guides and first aid teams during the entire rafting trip, so it should be okay.

Rafting precautions

However, some smart precautions should be kept in mind by anybody who’s out for some whitewater fun.

First and foremost, suit up. The worst part about whitewater rafting is that when you get dumped into the drink, there isn’t much you can do but wait for the current to take you to calmer waters, and with this in mind you’d want to protect every inch of your body. Short of wearing a full set of armor, putting on a helmet, joint pads and a life vest will keep you from bruising yourself too much.

As much as possible, always go rafting with one other person or more. Depending on the river you’ll be cruising, rafting vacations can become really tough expeditions. Having someone who can help you out when you’re in trouble can go a long way. Bring first aid kits for cuts and bruises, splints for possible broken bones.

If you’re with a rowing guide, make sure to follow everything the man says.