Date: July 20th, 2011
By Krista Coy- Front Desk Extraordinaire
Coming from the core of the corn belt in Indiana, it seems Colorado has it all from the golden-lit snow-capped mountains to the calm cool lakes. In particular, Steamboat aka Ski Town USA, is best known for its winter ski resort, but The Boat’s motto “Come for the winter and stay for the summer.”, suggests there is more to see in the “off” season.
Although I haven’t spent a winter here yet, I would have to agree this area is worth seeing in the summer. After all, the champagne powder snow has to melt which makes water sports an unavoidable part of Steamboat’s culture. Whether its avoiding a drifter that washed out part of the road or choosing your own adventure in a kayak or raft, Colorado’s waters bring an experience all their own.
This year the quick snow melt caused the waters to be raging, which makes for a great excuse to take advantage of. I’m not brave (or niave) enough to take on the river waters on my own, so I jumped in on trips with the guests here at Vista Verde dude ranch on my days off.
With the unpredicitablity of mother nature, the rushing waters at over 3,500 cfs, gave us a unique experience on both the kayaking and rafting trips. For kayaking we headed off with the great men at Mountain Sports Kayaking School. The class for beginners was a great way to get acquainted with the water and learning how to handle a kayak. We paddled and got instructions in a small pond before heading down the river to bear the high raging waters of the Yampa. We zipped through the waters in Steamboat in nearly half of the time a regular trip would take, but stopped in a few eddies to practice maneuvers and to chat about the area. Since we had the time, we played around a bit and tried paddling up stream. With every stroke it was a struggle to even keep up the pace to stay in the same spot which was enough to work up an appetite. Although there were a few close calls, luckily, we all stayed upright and got back just in time for lunch.
After my kayaking experience I wanted more and decided to head out the next week with the rafting group. Even two hours away on the Colorado River, the waters were still so high that our trip started a few miles down from its original departure. Our relaxing ride turned out to be a true ladies day out with all the rafters being women. Dana our guide couldn’t have been more entertaining as she pointed out an old covered wagon trail and took us off the beaten path to scope out dinosaur footprints.
With the high waters, some of the rapids were covered, but sitting in the front of the raft still proved to be a “swimmingly” good time. Not that any of us fell in, but it felt that way as the water crashed on our faces. Note to future rafters, never try to turn and have a conversation from the front of the boat or the tricksters in the raft may succeed in “drowning” out your conversation.
Thanks Krista for your story! We look forward to hearing more about your adventures at our Colorado dude ranch.