Most everyone has heard of white water rafting. Those who like a bit of adventure have a great time splashing through bumps and dips in the wild waters of river rapids. What about rafting for people who prefer a quieter ride? It does exist, in the form of scenic river floats. Many people find a day on the river quite enjoyable, whether a wet and wild white water adventure or a serene scenic float.
White Water Rafting on Washington's Wenatchee River
Several rafting companies, including Alpine Adventures, offer white water raft trips on the Wenatchee River starting from Cashmere near the popular Bavarian themed tourist town of Leavenworth. After meeting the gear truck at the take-out point in Cashmere where they receive wetsuits and life vests, rafters board the rafting company's bus bound for the launch point. Alpine Adventures launches near Leavenworth in a calm portion of the river. Floating down a calm part before arriving at the white water gives the guides plenty of time to teach rafters how to paddle and practice following their directions. It also provides people an opportunity to jump in the water if they want a chance to cool off from the warmth of the sun.
When the rafts arrive at the first rapid, the guides put to use all the paddling instructions practiced in the calm area to steer the rafts safely through. The raft rises on a wave and splashes down in a trough, much to the delight of everyone on board. Anybody dry at the start of the first rapid finds themselves emerging quite wet before the raft reaches the final wave. Avoiding the front seat does not keep anyone dry on a trip through the white water.
In the calm areas between the rapids, people enjoy the scenery, sometimes spotting wildlife such as an osprey in its nest. It also offers a chance to rest up for the next wild paddling session through the whitewater. The slow spots also give those with waterproof cameras a hands-free chance for some photo opportunities. To insure camera safety, buckle the top strap of the life vest through the camera string and tuck it inside the life vest when not in use. It does limit the camera to the length of its string from the vest when taken out for use, but insures that it will not get dropped overboard when hastily stashed on the next command for paddling.
After floating down the river for awhile, a dam blocks the way. The rafts pull ashore for portage around the dam. After a very short walk, returning the rafts to the water at a public launch on the other side of the dam. Some other rafting companies start their trips at that point.
Further down the river, the rafts pull ashore once more, this time on a small mid-river island. The guides set out a tasty lunch of sandwiches, lemonade and cookies, upon which the guests descend like a flock of hungry vultures.
After lunch more rapids create opportunities to try new things, like sitting on the front of the raft trying to “ride the bull.” A fall puts the bull rider back into the bow of the boat, not into the wild river.
Back at cashmere, the rafts once again pull ashore. Rafters carry the boats up to the grass and find photographers staked out in the parking lot with photos of the boat in rapids available for sale.
To find white water rafting near you, google white water rafting, your state.
Alpine Adventures also offers scenic river floats from Lake Wenatchee State Park.
Scenic River Float – River Rafting for Everyone
For those who would enjoy floating down the river without the excitement of white water rafting, try a scenic river float. Some of the same companies that offer white water raft trips also offer scenic floats. Cruise ship passengers may find scenic floats offered as shore excursion options on some itineraries, such as Alaskan cruises stopping in Juneau.
For a scenic float down the Mendenhall River in Juneau, the tour bus picks passengers up at their ship for the journey to a lake dotted with small ice bergs where the rafts launch. The lake offers a distant view of Mendenhall Glacier. After passing through the lake, rafts enter the Mendenhall river for a gentle float with just a few slightly bumpy spots. Grandmothers and small children enjoy this relaxing scenic float along with passengers of all ages. The guides do all the paddling on this trip. Guests just relax and enjoy the scenery.
One of the more interesting sites along the way includes a bend where the entire riverbank is lined with junk cars, placed there decades ago to stabilize erosion. Other sites include cliff swallow nests in the river bank, often accompanied by sightings of cliff swallows. Bald eagles fly overhead. Evergreen trees line the riverbanks, along with huckleberry bushes and other native plants.
Once back on shore, guests are given a snack before boarding the bus back to their ship.
To find a scenic river float closer to home, google scenic river float, scenic raft trip, or anything similar.
Tags: White Water Raft River Raft Float Fun