Thursday, July 30, 2015

White Water Rafting and a Gondola...

Our first full day in Vail, we went white water rafting on the Upper Colorado. It was a level two, so that means calm waters with a few rapids. The water comes into the boat, but the water doesn't come up over you as in the upper levels of rafting. (Phew!) NO wet sits or kind of rafting!

After hearing many people say, "If you fall out...." So of course my first question to our guide was how many people has he lost. (jeepers!!) But I am glad to report, he has yet to lose anyone off his boat. No, I did not ask him if this was his first ride down the river. 

We were fitted with some life jackets when we arrived to our destination. These were some heavy duty life jackets which was A OK with me.

Our guide, Shane was from New Zealand. He was the best!! Loved his accent as well as his humor!
 Sam and Jason rode in the front of the raft. They actually rowed to help Shane guide the raft down the river! Sam was a bit nervous at first, but once over the first set of rapids, he was good to go!

See how calm it is in the problem! We did go over rapids, but I do not have a picture of that due to hanging on for dear life! The water that splashed us was freezing! I got a few good soakings, plus I was sitting right behind Sam and he had a tendency to throw water with his paddle...right at me!!

Jack sat between me and my sister.
It was a bit too calm for Jack, so Shane had him switch positions with me and gave him a paddle.  He was a happy camper with that paddle and more action!
Couldn't pass up an opportunity for a raft selfie!

I am happy to report that we all made it down the river safely!!
Except if you look closely at this mom appears to have lost her entire body!!

After few snacks and some water, we boarded the shuttle back to our hotel. 

After some rest and relaxation...everyone fell asleep that afternoon! We decided to head further up the mountains in Vail. Really? As if 10,000 feet wasn't high enough?? So we bought gondola ride tickets, jumped in and climbed up to 11,000 feet to Adventure Ridge. 
(this is a picture of the gondola we rode in!)

Adventure Ridge has tube slides, zip lines and other "mountain" sports to try out. There was also live music, food and a huge fire pit.  I'll tell you what, it was coooollllldddd up there! With the wind, I bet is topped 60 degrees max. People had their winter coats on and really wished I had mine! BRRRRR!!!

The boys really wanted to do some tube slides. You know, it's not every day that you are on top of a mountain with that opportunity, so why not...You can see the slides in the background. It is actual tubes you ride on the way down, but they have almost a plastic bottom, which helps you pick up speed!  

 What's great about most of the rides in the mountains, is that you do not have to climb up to the beginning of the ride. For example, this tube contains an escalator (covered in case of snow) So the boys would grab their tubes and ride the escalator to the top! How smart! Especilly for us Iowans who are not use to the high altitude!!

After dinner we had to get a few scenery photos. I must say, I loved how the boys loved the mountains! You would hear them say to each other, "Look at that!" or "Check that out!"

All was good, until we headed back down the gondola. I have a a fear of some heights, conditions usually have to be just right for it to rear it's ugly head. More often than not,  I can keep it in check. Well, heading down in the gondola, it came to the surface. I rode on the side of the gondola that would look straight down to the bottom of the mountain. It's a steep mountain...going down almost 1000 feet in a short amount of time and it was super high in the air! I actually froze up and couldn't move. It was soon "spotted" that I was having an issue...a few people even have some video! It was the longest ride in my life. I tried to look at the view, but I just wanted out, wanted the ride to be done and for it to stop bumping and jumping!  UGH!!  When we finally reached the bottom, I bolted out and almost kissed the ground! 

But overall, I won't let a little fear of heights ruin our wonderful day of white water rafting and Adventure Ridge!

More Colorado adventures to share next week!

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