“Hold on!” shouted Mike, our river rafting guide. As we descended over our first grade 3 rapid, all of my common sense escaped my body. I was on the right hand side of the raft and we were going down eye-balls-first into the blue and white foam.
We hit the sweet spot and the three of us on the right teetered on the edge, everything going into slow motion. I strained my stomach muscles, trying to hold myself inside the raft, but one more ounce of weight to the outside would have landed me directly in the rushing Kicking Horse River. The water gave one last kick and one of my fellow rafters lost his battle and ended up splashing into the choppy unknown.
We attempted a heroic rescue and returned to our adventure, a little more cautiously than before. The Kicking Horse River near Golden, British Columbia promised grade 3 and 4 rapids and everyone was super excited.
We chose to raft with Glacier Rafting, one of the most trusted and highly rated rafting companies in Golden, and weren’t disappointed. The river is divided into 3 sections; section 1 is a lazy meander through valleys and canyons, section 2 is pocked with grade 3 and 4 rapids, and section 3 is more challenging still. In mid-June, section 3 is impossible to pass but as the glacier melt slows in late summer and the river recedes, section 3 becomes the adrenaline-pumping part of the trip.
As the river was high and the waters fast and urgent, we were only able to raft the first two sections. Our all-day trip was broken by a beautiful steak lunch by the river (props to the chef, it’s not easy to get a steak barbequed to perfection), and we were lucky enough to get the first full day of sunshine of the season. Life is good.
Rapids aside, the scenery was incredible. The meandering Kicking Horse River parted the landscape perfectly, and nestled between soaring mountains with trees clinging to the sides for all they’re worth. Our guide pointed out all the cool stuff on the banks; wildlife areas; ‘Nipple Mountain’ (don’t ask); and hoodoos carved out by thousands of years of erosion (although Mike tried to mess with us by telling us they were caused by moose peeing off the edge of a cliff). Man, I’m gullible sometimes.
I could talk all day about the rapids we hit, their hilarious names (the Man Eater, the G-Spot, the Troll, the Rollercoasters and the Lost World) and how they made me feel totally exhilarated, but I think I’ll let the video do the talking here. Enjoy!