High schoolers in the Greenway Leadership Corps (GLC) traveled to Buena Vista to test their wits on white water last weekend. Some students had been rafting before, but for many of these teenagers, this was their first time river rafting. We piled in vans and left early Friday morning from Denver to drive south and meet our cityWILD guides in BV. Everyone donned a wet suit and we piled in the van again to head to the put-in location.
Our first day on the Arkansas River was a bit chilly, but the water was high and fast, which made for an exciting ride. The crew meshed together seamlessly, despite many students not knowing each other prior to the trip, and our guides repeatedly complimented everyone's paddling and listening skills.
After rafting, we headed to a campsite in San Isabel National Forest with two of our cityWILD guides. We set up camp and got comfortable, and then took a little field trip to Turtle Rock.
Turtle Rock is a large, granite feature that holds more than 20 climbing routes. Fortunately for us, there is also a fun hike around the side of the rock that leads to the top. Some students sprinted to the top, and others had to confront their fear of heights on the way up, but everyone summited and was proud to make it up.
After Turtle Rock, we drove back to our campsite and made chilaquiles for dinner, thanks to two of our students bringing homemade salsa. Needless to say, our dinner was delicious. And of course, we wrapped up the evening with s'mores around the fire. It was the first night for some of us to spend the night in a tent, but with the way everyone jumped right in you would never have guessed.
On Saturday, we woke up early, broke down our camp, and headed back to the Arkansas for day two on the river. We rafted part of the same section of the river as the day before, through Bighorn Sheep Canyon, with a little more time and more sunshine. Storm clouds were advancing, though, and we exited the river and packed up our van with just enough time to start our journey back to Denver without getting rained on.
Thank you so much to cityWILD - this is always one of our favorite trips of the year, and it wouldn't be possible without them! As one of our consistent participants said, "the rafting trip means it's summer now, and it's definitely the best way to start my summer".