Day 9 – “Water Temperature? About 35 Degrees.”

Today we were able to enjoy another slow morning. The alarm clock-less wake ups have been glorious because we definitely have some sleep to catch up on! English Muffins with eggs and OJ was our delicious breakfast, before planning out the day’s plan of attack.

Although rafting reservations were made, that wasn’t until 2 PM, so we decided to do another hike. We choose a much shorter one (about 1 mile) and went nearby to Moraine Lake. In this area, some of the trails have “Bear Restrictions,” requiring that people hike in groups of 4 or more, and with bear spray, so we stayed close to shore and did an easy lake-side walk.

We looped back to the truck and enjoyed yummy PB & J sandwiches. (Don’t worry, we made it a complete meal by adding cookies andpotato chips.)

After filling the bellies, we ventured down to the Kicking Horse River to go rafting!  We arrived at Wild Water Adventures in Golden and were greeted by staff and visitors from around the world—we were definitely not the farthest from home!  We were introduced to some of the guides who seemed pretty chill, from places like Costa Rica, Scotland, Australia, and obviously Canada.  They gave an overview of our day ahead, including some details like “the water is glacially cold, just about 35 degrees … it melted off a glacier about 13 minutes ago …”  (Thank goodness it was 90 degrees out today!) We put on our gear, which consisted of wetsuits, booties, splash jackets, life vests and helmets, and headed to the bus for a quick drive to the river.  On the bus, a guide from Scotland gave a little pep talk, including an overview of the class I-IV rapids. He also included some humor that could be found on the Jungle Cruise ride at Disney.  Naturally, we thought he was hysterical.

Once at the river, Patrick was tabbed as “safety auditor” (how nerdy can he get?) during another “introduction” speech, and then we were separated into boats.  With us was a man and woman combo from London (we’re not sure if they were married or what their deal was, he was all about the rafting, she seemed a bit dainty for the whole thing); and a mom and dad with two sons from Philly (this was their 5th rafting experience, with others being in New Zealand and Costa Rica).  Our guide, Carlos from Costa Rica, kept us on our toes the whole ride.  Overall, the Kicking Horse River was awesome.  The water wasn’t TOO cold (just imagine a January swim at the cape), the scenery was phenomenal, and the rapids were fun! We were floating through the mountains, under some bridges and past some impressive rockslides.

About halfway through, following a 1 km stretch of rapids called “The Shotgun,” we swapped places on the raft; Ally was now paddling, while Patrick was along for the ride.  Carlos had some fun with Ally and encouraged her to “ride the front of the boat like a horse.”  While she knew he was up to something, an unexpected (albeit gentle) shove from Patrick got her in the water. There’s her ice bucket challenge, Joanne, a full plunge into the glacial melt!  It was actually very enjoyable, even if a bit shocking. Invigorating may be the best word to describe not only the plunge itself, but floating down the rapids with the raft close behind. 

We loaded the gear and took the bus back. After a quick change out of the wetsuits (some were more wet than others, cough cough) and into dry clothes we were able to enjoy some hot tea and, to Patrick’s pleasure, cookies!  (NOTE: Check back soon for video highlights of our rafting trip! As with the driving videos, it takes a long time to upload and process—and YouTube hasn’t been cooperating recently.)

We headed back to camp, got a fire going and fired up the grill.  Burgers and roasted veggies for dinner again (this time, red potato wedges and grilled zucchini—delicious!) 

Early to bed, and hopefully early to rise.  We have a long trip to Glacier National Park in Montana tomorrow, so we have the alarm set for 4.  Some suggested we see the Perseid Meteor Shower, but if that doesn’t work out, then we’ll be up and out anyway!

– Ally and Patrick

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