Travel Tuesday: From Breathtaking Scenery to a Thrilling Adventure

From Breathtaking Scenery to a Thrilling Adventure: My Experience on the Royal Gorge River

It had been in the making for a year, my best friend in college moved away for med school and we hadn’t seen each other for a while. We wanted to do something epic. We decided a river rafting trip was in order. We decided that Colorado would be an easy location with some great opportunities for some big rapids.

Beautiful Scenery, Wildlife and Adrenaline

A few weeks later on a cloudless Thursday morning we boarded our rafts and pushed off onto the peaceful Arkansas River that allowed us to sit back, relax and bask in the stunning landscapes of the mountainous countryside. We searched for wildlife near the shore; we hoped to see a bear or at least some deer.

The first day we set off rafting the Arkansas River near Royal Gorge. We would have been completely satisfying if left to just our simple river floating and animal observation, but it quickly became an exciting thrill ride as we approached our first set of big rapids. Bracing ourselves with paddles clutched in our clammy hands, our river guide, shout out instructions over the roar of the rapids. “Hold on to your paddle! Don’t stop pushing! Paddle forward now!” We scrambled to follow her instructions as we barreled into our first big wave. It struck the raft with a powerful force that threw the weaker members of our group into the center of the raft. With enormous grins we pushed on and emerged from our first rapid soaking wet and smiling from ear to ear.

I couldn’t help but realize this was a turning point in our trip. At first we were a slightly awkward group, with varying ages, backgrounds and lifestyles. But after we had conquered our first set of substantial rapids we were friends; a united team willing to help anyone succeed and ready to tackle our next adventure together. The camaraderie continued to strengthen as the day raced on

The Trip of a Lifetime

The next day we moved on to Bighorn Canyon.  The river was filled with laughter and chatter amongst the raft boats, stalled only when we bolstered ourselves to careen down a considerable set of whitewater rapids. Our paddle boat was usually in the lead and as soon as we had successfully run through the treacherous rapids and navigated the sharp turns and drops we would pull aside to witness the other boats as they splashed their way through the risky waters. In the jarring waters we watched their heads bob up above the white caps and there was invariably a perpetual grin plastered upon their face. Everyone was beaming from the excitement of conquering a big rapid.

When our two days on the river came to an end, we didn’t want to say good-bye. We had fallen in love with this magnificent body of water that had challenged our fears, forced us to face danger and taken us on the most exciting thrill ride of our lives. With renewed energy we set out to express to our friends and family that the most stimulating and adrenaline-filled vacation they will ever take will be next summer if they join us on our second (and certainly not last) white-water rafting trip.


Guest post by Michael Sproul, he currently lives in Utah and spends his weekends exploring remote slot canyons in Southern Utah. You can read more about his adventures on The Carefree Traveler or My Life Outdoors. You can also connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.


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