Last Saturday Mark and I were able to join the Huntington Ski Club on a special day trip rafting down the New River. I have been talking about organizing a trip like this for the club for a long time, and this summer we were finally able to get it together and actually go.
There are several white water rafting companies to choose from, but we used Adventures on the Gorge since they are the most well known. I called about 1 month in advance, set the reservation date and time and all I had to do was call them as the date got closer and update them on the number of people coming. Easy Peasy. As most things like this go, we had people sign up, change their minds, decide to go, or show up at the last minute. Typical, right? Adventures on the Gorge made the whole experience painless. We were able to give a final count the day before the trip and pay the balance the morning of the trip. It was great!
Adventures on the Gorge is about a 2-hour drive from Huntington, so it was easy to get to and drive home after. After a brief safety presentation, we loaded on to a bus for a 20-25 minute drive to the entry point on the river. This, I have to say, was the worst part of the day. Being on that windy road in wet PFD’s (personal floating devices) was just BARF. Our guide made several jokes on the way and made the situation better, but I was a hot mess on that bus.
As soon as we got there we headed down to the water’s edge and all my bus sick cares melted away. The river is beyond beautiful.
The whole trip took about 4 hours, and our guide, Ella, was sure to get us all on the same page right away so that we would be able to work together to get our boat safely down the river. We practiced strokes with our paddles, leaning towards the middle of the raft (in case of rocks) and learned what to watch for as we entered and maneuvered through rapids.
There were several opportunities to get out of the boat and float down river on our backs through some light rapids. The water temperature was perfect, and I felt true relaxation as we splashed around. Beats being in an office any day. We also stopped a couple places for cliff jumping, which was a blast. Adventures on the Gorge really made it a full day of fun with a little bit for everyone. They also provided a great lunch with lots of options, so if you are thinking of going, food is covered.
Summer is a great time to raft the Lower New River, which is what we did. We are not experts, so Lower New is perfect this time of the year. The minimum age to raft this part of the river is 12, so it’s difficult enough for adult beginners, but easy enough that we never felt unsafe.
If you go: you will need shoes that tie on your feet, like swim shoes or light sneakers. You will also need to put on sunscreen before you go, wear a bathing suit, shorts and a T-shirt. The guide has a dry bag where you can keep what you need, but you can’t get into that every 5 minutes. I brought a dry bag for my phone (I found it at Marshall’s last year, similar one here), which was awesome because I could take pictures while we were out there. It did a great job of keeping my phone dry, and I had it hanging around my neck the whole trip. Keep in mind that each raft usually tips their guide, so bring some cash to pool together. We also had a videographer with us who made an awesome video that you could watch and purchase, and they took a group picture that you could buy as well. There are shower4s when you get back, so bring dry clothes to change into. Also- like any great activity, there was beer at the finish!
Have any of you been rafting before? I’d love to hear about your experience!