Blog By Melody Mack –
I am in my first year of working for Buffalo Joe’s, and already it is evident to me the type of passion these folks have for the river. For many of our guides at BJ’s, rafting isn’t just a summer job—it is lifestyle. Getting on the river every day is just as exciting for them as it is for each of our customers. During the off season, many of our guides travel the country chasing whitewater and living the dream. Our guides have been all over from the Gualey River in West Virginia to the Grand Canyon. Recently, before the season began in Buena Vista, a few of them traveled to the Colorado River for a few days in Westwater Canyon.
This beautiful, narrow canyon is full of class III-IV rapids including the intimidating Skull rapid and Room of doom. Their journey from Loma, Colorado to Cisco, Utah took 3 days and was an adventurous ride at 15,000 CFS. With 17 people and 7 boats, there was never a dull moment in the canyon or at camp. The canyon provided this crew with all kinds of weather, but along with it came some incredible views and wildlife. Part of the experience of overnighting in a canyon is getting to be a part of nature and away from it all.
Because I am new to the river scene, I sat down and spoke with Jacoby about his favorite details of this float. Jason Jacoby, a veteran guide with over 14 years of experience, is in his 9th year of guiding on the Arkansas. He said, the most important aspects of a trip like this is to make sure you are with people you enjoy and you don’t skimp on the food.
“With civilization days away, it is necessary to have good food and good scenery, but it is really all about the people you go with.”
They enjoyed everything from a soup bar to gourmet dinners of steak and chicken curry. Each person is in charge of bringing something and everyone knows it is a luxury you do not waste. Anytime there is an opportunity to experience new water, these guides definitely make the most of it. Theme days are a big deal as well. Jacoby said they had disco and American themes for the Westwater trip and everyone brought fun costumes and props to add a little character to the float. In the flat-water, they party barged all the rafts together and enjoyed the good company in a perfect setting, however on day 3 the real work began.
“Waking up on Day 3 you can see in their eyes that it was game day.”
Even though the section of rapids is short, it was still ample for some carnage. 2 boats flipped and 1 person swam the rapid Room of doom. Even with this much experience on the water, the river has a mind of its own and you must always be aware. After everyone was back in place, their trip continued with no issues and a safe arrival to the take-out. Westwater Canyon is just another trip to be added to the books, and was a great way for our guides to amp up for this high water season on the Ark.
“When you can see no one in front or behind you- you are the only boat and realize how small you are in this big canyon, I love that feeling. I just think- this is it, man, this is living.”-Jason Jacoby