It’s been a long time since I went river rafting. The last time (apart from a gentle float on the Rio Grande in Taos) was ages ago on the Colorado River and I swore I’d never do it again. It was a harrowing ride down the white swirling river, I don’t even remember the scenery because the entire time we were all 100% focused on keeping the raft afloat. I was told it was level six rapids, which didn’t mean a whole lot to me then, and I now question because they’re the most dangerous and I doubt very seriously we would have been able to navigate those at all.
But they were rough. Probably 5-4’s. Our group was in way over our heads and the guides were freaked out, which was disconcerting to say the least. It was really scary and not at all what I thought it would be. Every muscle in my body ached for days, and I was super fit at the time. So I didn’t think river rafting was fun at all and avoided it, declining all offers since.
Idaho is famous for river rafting, and it seemed like a trip to Boise wouldn’t be complete without a river rafting experience, so I decided to open my mind up to the idea again. When I learned that the rapids on offer were level 2-3, and that the Cascade Raft & Kayak were known for their safety record and high quality rafting trips, I thought I’d give it a go. I’m so glad I did–river rafting is a blast when you’re not terrified!
It did take going through a few rapids for me to chill out and enjoy it. When I first felt the force of the river, I seriously questioned my sanity and wondered what I got myself into. The water is incredibly powerful. But when I saw that the boats went through the rapids okay, I started to feel the thrill, and pretty soon I was laughing it was so fun.
We couldn’t have had a better guide. Mike (aka Magic) was so calm and confident it made me feel comfortable. The way it works is everyone meets up at the home base. There you pick up anything you might need such as water booties or the blue water jackets you see us wearing in the pictures. The water is cold and this keeps you nice and dry. The shop has Chums to keep your sunglasses secure, and they have hats and other necessities.
After you have everything you need, everyone hops on a bus and you head to the put-in for the boats. They give you a safety briefing (which of course scared the tar out of me) and then you put your rafts in and off you go. We rafted on the Payette River. Our raft had the medical kit, so we needed to be behind the other rafts which was really nice for me because I got to see the other rafts making it through the rapids before we went through.
After we got back from the river, we changed our clothes in the dressing rooms and got comfortable. The facilities are spacious and clean. There are plenty of great spots to relax and hang out, including the cute little cafe overlooking the river. Its a family friendly atmosphere and we saw lots of kids and people of all ages.
They serve salads, hot dogs, chips and sodas, that sort of thing. It’s the perfect way to end the experience, I could have stayed there for hours it was so nice. All the staff are smiling, positive and high energy and it’s lovely to be around those good, happy vibes. I was not very sore at all after this trip, just a tiny bit from using different muscles, but it was really nothing and was totally gone within a day or so. It was the good kind of sore. If you don’t eat there, head downtown and have a hearty, nourishing farm to table meal at Fork or Bittercreek Alehouse.
If you go to Boise in the summer, you have to go river rafting. Believe me, I went from thinking I hated it and being afraid to being eager to do it again. Going down the river is a wonderful way to get to know the terrain. It’s always a good idea to see a place from different perspectives and I’m so grateful we had the opportunity to experience the river this way. Find out more on the Cascade Raft & Kayak website.
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- We were guests of Cascade Raft & Kayak, opinions are my own.
- River Rafting images courtesy of Cascade Raft & Kayak.