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Senior Rafting

River Running for Seniors:
Get Wet and Wild in Colorado April, 1992, Senior Edition Colorado newspaper

More and more seniors are all wet, as the number of seniors participating in river expeditions rapidly increases.

Imagine rafting down a river as it carves its way through geological history in an untouched wilderness of tall sandstone cliffs, crags and towering peaks dotted with pine forest. You’ll go home with memories you will never forget.

The length of river trips ranges from half-day to 17 days, to fit just about any schedule. Expedition costs range from about $30 to $1800.

Available activities vary widely. Fishing trips along the calm, pristine banks fo the Dolores, with miles of the river teeming with trout, offer a completely different experience than outrageous whitewater trips on the Colorado River. Many tour companies offer combination trips which may include activities such as horseback riding and mountain biking, as well as instructional trips.

And it’s safer than many people think. Every individual on a river trip is required to wear a personal flotation device approved and used by the U.S. Coast Guard. Many participants can’t swim, but with the flotation device in place, the worst thing that will happen is they’ll get wet – which is half the fun of a river trip!

Jerry Mallet, president of Adventure Travel, consults with companies involved with adventure travel (including rafting), or that want to get into it. “Make sure the company is licensed,” he advises. “That means they have to have a permit, insurance, and meet criteria of guides having first aid or advanced first aid, CPR and a minimum mile requirement of time/miles of the river.”

River travelers are warned to bring clothing to cover up with, as well as sunblock; many guides also carry sunblock.

On longer trips, gaining weight can be a problem, Mallet says, “Because the food is usually so good.” Fresh fruits, vegetables and fresh-baked goods are common. Tell outfitters in advance about any medical considerations, allergies or dietary restrictions.

Day trips cost less and require less preparation – they also are restricted in what you can see and where you can go. Multi-day trips are usually limited to 25 people, to keep the feeling of seclusion and wilderness.

For information on rafting companies in Colorado, contact the Colorado River Outfitters Association, P.O. Box 1662, Buena Vista, CO 81211; (719)-369-4632.

Dvorak Kayak and Rafting Expeditions offers a Classical Music River Journey. Five musicians from the Los Angeles Philharmonic accompany the raft trip and play evening concerts. The trips have been so popular, Dvorak Expeditions is expanding to jazz trips. (800)-824-3795.