Skipping rocks over a glassy lake, running through sprinklers, lounging in bubble baths – the message is clear: water bonds people. And what has better water than the white-capped rapids and shallow crystal pools of Clear Creek, Colorado?
Not every vacation must be a miasma of microwaved food in Styrofoam sarcophagi and the endless beeps, beeps and beeps of smartphones. As Lorein Eisely said, “If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.” On the river, family comes first. Everyone unplugs. A lifejacket and a paddle make everyone equal, down from 60-year-old grandparents to 6-year-old first-graders. On the water, people play together; people share together.
Not convinced yet?
5 Benefits of Whitewater Rafting for the Family
1. Lattismus Dorsi
Those are the biggest muscles in your back, and if you didn’t know about them already, you’ll know about them after rafting Upper Beaver Falls and Hells Corner. Not all whitewater rafting trips are physically strenuous, especially when conducted by an experienced guide, but all rafting promotes strong muscles, good balance and cardiovascular health. And what better way to get in shape than taking on the best waves in the Wild Wild West?
2. Mother Nature
Although located close to I-70 about 30 miles west of Denver, Clear Creek remains home to unspoiled mountain beauty. Clear Creek holds the geographical distinction of being the only creek fed by a river in the United States. You might see a bristly bighorn sheep, a slinky river otter, or a daring rock climber somewhere on the canyon walls. As you will discover, experiencing nature in the flesh puts any National Geographic Special to shame.
3. Convenient Fun
Not everyone has the time to hike the 218-mile John Muir trail in Yosemite, California. Whitewater rafting gives you a whirlwind tour of natural beauty, heart palpitations and family fun. It doesn’t require a certification, a data plan or your Social Security number. You arrive. You raft. You love. You can hang around the beautiful scenery for days, or you can return to the rest of your jam-packed family vacation.
4. Stress Relief
Nothing eliminates stress like a gradient of 67 feet per mile and dozens of pulse-pounding rapids. Clear Creek, Colorado is a salt rub for the soul. Rafting down a river breaks down corporate “decision trees” and other professional mumbo jumbo. Life simplifies. Rafting is a mood-booster without a doctor’s prescription. Whether you spend an hour or a day on the river, the sense of relaxation and connectedness endure long after the water has evaporated.
Whitewater rafting trips are often used in leadership training programs for the simple reason that water begets friendship. Jokes flow easier when you are being splashed. Out here, actions speaker louder than words. Paddle right. Back-paddle left. Right two strokes, hard! Every splash is punctuated by a chuckle, every slow-moving pool by a story, every chilling rapid by a memory. The sport of whitewater rafting is fun, safe and, to borrow a cliché from Hollywood, enjoyable for the whole family.
6. (Bonus) No Salt Water
Take that, Myrtle Beach!
This article was written by Ryan Thomas for Rocky Mountain Whitewater Rafting. Rocky Mountain Whitewater Rafting has guided thousands of whitewater rafting trips on Clear Creek and throughout Colorado.