/White Water Rafting: Paddling between the Hills
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White Water Rafting: Paddling between the Hills

Everybody has a little spirit of adventure within them. It depends on the person, what stimulates their sense of adventure. As such, Nepal has been a tourist hub for a very long time now – it being diversified in landscapes and beautified with the jewelries of the Mother Nature. Every year, large numbers of tourists visit our country for their own share of thrills. Whitewater rafting is among the most popular ones.

If you have driven along Prithvi or Araniko Highway, you might have seen a bunch of people running down along with the river. This is common in Trishuli and Bhotekoshi Rivers, since these are the most popular sites for whitewater rafting in the country. Getting into such a deep blue river might seem as a stupid idea but with your life jackets on and your hands gripping on a paddle – it is a fun thing to do, a memory to cherish.

It was not before than 1811 C.E. when the first recorded attempt to navigate the Snake River in Wyoming was planned. Following that, Lt. John Fremont and Horace H. Day assembled their first rubber raft in 1840. Eventually on June 9, 1940, Clyde Smith led a successful trip through the Snake River Canyon.

This event is marked as the beginning of the commercial rafting trip. Ever since, with the construction of sophisticated rubber rafts—with all sorts of safety equipment on board—rafting has become a passionate sport that is admired by large group of people of various ages. It also takes place as competitive event all around the world.

MIND THIS

Many of you people might be thinking of plunging into the raft for some adventure of your own. You can definitely take a move but take it wisely. You must be very careful while choosing the rafting company. Better chose a reputed one and the one with experienced and certified guides.

Your white water rafting guides should have CFR and First Aid Certification and some EMT training. After all, no one would wish to hand over their life to some amateur and less skilled people. The rafting duration may last for about 3-4 hours and more, depending on how long you would like to face the powerful waves and motion of the river.

You should also be aware of the rapids as classified. Class I and Class II categorized rapids are okay for recreational purpose. Other than these, first timers and amateur should not go for higher rapids. It will be more fun if you take a night stay and campfire on the river beach. Wisely plan your rafting trip to make sure it is adrenaline rushing and safe at the same time.

APPROPRIATE SEASONS

It is essential that you choose a proper season to go rafting because the experience varies with the flow of the river. Early spring and fall (April and May) is probably the best time. A surplus of water flow from the melting snow creates high water levels. Waves are larger and the water moves rapidly.

If you prefer warmer weather and wild waters, summer dam releases are the ideal time with fun Class III rapids. There is still the charm of whitewater but with the added enjoyment of warm weather.

If something a little calmer is more your style, a family whitewater rafting trip with Class I and II rapids would be ideal. Family rafting in the summer months of June, July, and August would be perfect because you will have many opportunities to swim, play, and relax.

Young children also can enjoy this mild whitewater rafting adventure and not be at great risk. Generally, you will find small, short, easily navigable rapids – some flat-water areas and beautiful scenery.

DO THESE

  • Buckle up your life jacket, even when you are on the beach
  • Pay attention to what the river guides say
  • Let your river guides know about any medical conditions you have
  • Wear proper shoes
  • Help your fellow rafters even if you do not know them
  • Enjoy and make memories

DON’T DO THESE

  • Do not stand up in moving current
  • Do not wear cotton if you are going rafting in cold weather. Wetsuits, neoprene, polypropylene would be best to keep you warm
  • Do not use alcohol or illegal substances while on your trip
  • Do not use your paddle as a splashing device
  • Avoid fallen debris and trees/branches in the river
  • Never go rafting alone
  • Do not panic if you fall down off the raft. Just let yourself float with your face facing up the sky. Your fellow rafters or the guide will help you out.

Rafting is an adventure. Once you immerse in it, you will find it extremely amusing and satisfying. Yes, many people are frightened to go raft, but let me assure you it is a safe thing to do. Obviously, there are risks in everything but rafting is not as dangerous as many people assume.

Rafting not only gives you memories, it gives you the best synopsis of life. How fast the rapids might be, how high the water levels might be, how hard the water splash may hit you, still your raft runs down and you move ahead with all your effort – as life itself. There are lots of ups and downs in our lives. Life hits us hard many times. All we need to do is to keep paddling and once we reach our destination and look back – that is when you realize how beautiful life has been, how worthy the journey has been.

-Darpan Sapkota