Rafting the Arkansas & Gunnison Rivers

Added on by taylor reilly.

After the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb auto-race, I returned to Denver for about a week.  Then friends of mine set out to raft the Arkansas and Gunnison Rivers for 4th of July Holiday weekend.  My good buddy purchased a raft for this season, and custom built a deck for his one man paddling set up.  It's a really nice raft and can fit about 6 people with gear.  My Denver buddies set up a rafting crew of about 12 people to raft the Arkansas, so we used my buddies raft and rented another one for the rest of the crew.  I have always spent 4th of July on the Rio Frio with friends and family, and I had been missing the summer on Texas Rivers, so this was a perfect way to spend the holiday.

We rafted the Arkansas south of Salida in style and took our time enjoying the July 4th Holiday weekend. I've rafted quite a bit and on several rivers across the country, but had never guided a boat. A rafting guide and friend of our group allowed me to take control for a good part of the river on a company raft that was not decked out.  I liked it a lot and it made me consider getting into rafting more frequently especially to mix with overnight climbing and backpacking trips.

After rafting the Arkansas half of our crew left us, and 6 of us took my buddies drove over Cottonwood Pass on the Continental Divide to raft the Gunnison River downstream from Crested Butte the next day.  We made a relaxing rafting day trip and spent the some extra time fly fishing.  The Gunnison River is beautiful and I want to spend more time boating there.  After rafting the Gunnison, we drove up hill to Crested Butte where we had some tasty pizza, beers, laughs and then spent the night in the Forest.  I had never been to Crested Butte before, but I have always heard good things and have wanted to go there.  The remote and off the beaten path location has always attracted me.  Also, it's placement at high elevation and being surrounded by mountains has always attracted me.  Crested Butte is a beautiful Colorado town and I can't wait to return.

The day after I would drive to Los Angeles, California via a beautiful drive through Utah.