August 5: Rafting the Poudre River

We woke to a steady drizzle which showed no signs of slowing up for most of the day. When I got out of the tent and into the van the temperature was a blamy 52 degrees. when I chedcked again after we ate breakfast it was down to 49. Not the kind of temps I wanted to raft in, but at least the water had a chance to be warmer than the air!

We killed some time checking out the Moraine Park Museum and Beaver Creek Visitor Center. The visitor center was another area used in the search and rescue effort and usually had remote television studios from the major network stations from Denver parked there. Needing to purchase water socks for Todd and matt, we moved on to Estes Park in search of some. It took some looking but we finally found a pair for Matt at the Estes Park 5 and Dime and another for Matt at the rafting outfitter. A quick lunch at a very busy McDonald's and we were off to the Estes park high School parking lot where a bus was waiting to take us to our put in location.

The ride through the Big Thompson River valley over to Loveland was much as I remembered it from nearly 30 years prior. Very impressive to me though the kids could have cared less and napped most of the hour and a half drive. At least the bus driver was playing a classic rock station on the radio.

Some how, we all managed to stay in the raft

We stopped at a public access point and were fitted with life jackets and helmets. To me this was a good sign. If we needed helmets chances are we were going to do some semi-dangerous stretches of the Poudre. I could hardly wait. Outfitted we hopped back on the bus for a short ride to the put in location. Our guide, Jesse, appeared to be quite competent and was very enjoyable. The kids all liked him and even wnated to tip him when it was all over. We weren't on the water for the entire two hours. Rather, we did about 45-50 minutes, loaded up the rafts and did the same stretch of water again.

I'd say we did all class II with some easy III's tossed in. Nothing that exciting but it was much better than what we had done 2 years earlier on the Snake River and what Yumi and I did on the Flathead last summer. The kids had a blast but also wanted a little more bang for their buck---which we didn't have. It was mildly embarassing to have to tell Jesse that we brought NO money with us and would have to mail him his tip. He gladly offered us his address and we told him the check was in the mail. Sabrina made a nice card for him and we got it sent out the day after we arrived home. Unfortunately, we have no photos from the Poudre or of everyone but Yumi jumping into the frigid waters. Yes it was cold, maybe even colder than the Flathead.

The ride back to Estes Park was one of hunger. Everyone was hungry but since we had no $$$ with us couldn't get a snack when the bus stopped at a C-Store. At least I had 3 small bags of GORP to tide us over. When we got back into the van we had planned to head back to the campground and make some more pasta. That is until I spied an Oyster house on the way through town. Yumi had been such a good sport about eating her least favorite foods for much of the trip I knew we had to stop and eat here.

We had most of the restaurant to ourselves which was a good thing because our waitress was totally clueless. Yumi was able to get her fresh oysters and was in heaven. She couldn't believe how good they were and so far away from the ocean. This was probably the highlight of the trip for her. The rest of the kids and I found our meal to be satisfactory as well.


Rocky Mountain National Park
The Drive West
Moraine Park
Trail Ridge Road & Trail Ride
Dayhiking the Bear Lake Area
Ridge Road & Trail Ride II
Rafting the Poudre
Back to the Springs
Visiting Coach Paul
Home Again
Final Thoughts
Back to Vacations and Getaways


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