Several (and I mean several) years ago I had expressed interest in kayaking to my dad and we’d got the idea in our head to do it. He’d had a great experience kayaking in Durango, Colorado – so this was the place to do it in his book. And the years came and went and we never booked this kayaking trip. One of us would always say at the end of summer, “Oh yeah, one day…”
So in my new life of actually seeing and doing the things I’d always said I would, I looked up kayaking in Durango, read a couple of reviews, and booked a day trip with Mild 2 Wild Rafting tours. Then I actually planned a trip.
I still didn’t have vacation privileges at work, so I knew we’d have to roadtrip it and cram it all into a three-day weekend. I know that’s crazy. But driving 30 hours to hike a National Park and spend a full day on the Animas River ends up being worth it.
I’d researched a lot on when the best time to kayak this river would be and heard it should be pretty perfect near the end of June. I was all set. I’d convinced my dad to go along with this wacky roadtrip idea and we were both excited the kayaking trip was finally happening.
Of course, you can’t control good ol’ Mother Nature. She’d had a pretty cold spring and turns out the mountain hadn’t melted quite enough to produce enough river flow for safe kayaking. When we rolled up and were given wetsuits and (massive) splash jackets we were also told there’d be no kayaking. We’d been “upgraded” to a premium rafting group trip. Great.
Spoiler alert: it was great!
In the beginning you take this bus to the starting jump of the river and it’s all families and tourist-types – basically I thought we were gonna be solo adventuring down a treacherous river and now we were singing kumbaya with the same kids kicking our chair.
But once the rafts were divvied up and we were on the water, I realized this wasn’t going to be some lame theme park tubing ride. Our group was half the size of everyone else since we were a kind of last minute ragtag group, so our guide was able to direct the raft into the bigger rapids.
It was apparently the perfect time to go rafting because there was the perfect amount of water flow for some of the rocks to peak out of the river and create fun dips. We’d lucked into the funnest time to raft at least! We also didn’t get too wet but it was surprisingly cold!
A few hours later and a few miles down the river, we returned on the bus. After a quick change, we realized how hungry we were and headed to downtown Durango. We had local beer and fresh pizza then spent a few hours walking around the city, checking out the shops and stopping for all natural ice cream (made with real mint – it was so good)!
It wasn’t what we’d originally planned but we had a great time with a new experience. And now I guess we’ll have to book another Durango kayaking trip next year!