I got an email from Living Social about a couple heavily discounted raft trips here in New York from an outfit called Adventure Calls. The first trip was in Letchworth State Park and was $45 for two people and was about 2 1/2 hours on the water. It was only a class I/II. But there was another raft trip that was 3 hours on the water and was class II/III+. That was on Cattaraugus Creek and cost $60 for two people and that included wetsuit, wet top, and wet booties rental. Also included was hot soup on the river, and pizza afterwards. My wife and I had already done white water rafting back in Washington State. I had done rafting on the Wenatchee River (class III/III+) and we had both done a trip together on the Methow River (class II-IV).
We were told the arrive at the rafting office at 10:30 for a 11am start. We arrived shortly before 10:30 and there were people already there getting signed in and getting their wetsuits. We filled out the waivers, but were asked to wait to get our wetsuits. Apparently there was another group going out before us. After a bit, we got inside and got our gear and got suited up. Under my wetsuit I wore a long sleeve Under Armour Cold Gear shirt, swim shorts, and thermal socks. I wore Under Armour Extreme Cold Gear gloves. I locked our clothes and stuff in the trunk of my car. I had removed the key from my key chain and tied it to the draw string on my swim trunks. I wished I had brought a lanyard as it would have made it easier to access the key. After a while I started worrying that I had removed the wrong key from my key chain as I have two Honda keys on there. Oh well, nothing I could do about it now.
We boarded the blue bus, and rode to the starting spot on the river. They were working on inflating the rafts. One of the guides gave us a short instructional speech. Then we helped carry the rafts to the water. We actually got onto the river about noon. It was cold, though fortunately not as cold as was predicted.
The rafts are smaller than the ones we rode in back in Washington. We were told they used smaller rafts because they were more maneuverable. There were only four of us in our raft, me, my wife, Our guide Don, and a guide in training named Brian. It was interesting listening to Don teach Brian about what to look for on the water. The first half the trip was relatively mellow. Lots of nice scenery.
About halfway, we stopped along the rivers edge and they fed us cups of hot tomato soup. That hit the spot. Then we were back on the river. The cold gear gloves didn’t help a lot to keep my hands warm. I wished I have gotten some of the neoprene mittens that other people had. I guess they got them at the rafting office. I didn’t remember seeing them though. My hands were freezing, and my feet were starting to get cold too.
The first real rapids were named Pinball. Then there were rapids sporadically spaced after that. There were also pretty waterfalls along the way. I brought a camera in a waterproof case, and took pictures along the way. I wasn’t able to get pictures of the rougher rapids though as I was always busy paddling during those.
Various people got tossed out of the rafts, and one raft dump trucked and dumped everyone out, including the guide. Neither I, nor my wife got dumped out. Maybe because our guide who knew how to hit the rapids, or because my wife and I knew how to wedge our feet in to help keep us in the boat, or a combination of the two. I didn’t mind going into the water on the trips back in Washington when they were in the middle of summer. But I am glad not to have gotten dumped into the freezing Cattaraugus Creek when the temps were in the low to mid 40s. That would not have been fun! We did get wet anyway. We ended up spending closer to four hours on the water. By the end I was shivering and was looking forward to being done. One of the drawbacks of having 5% body fat is I don’t have that natural insulation.
Soon were at the finish, and we went and climbed onto the bus. I start shivering heavily as my body tried to warm itself. After a while it started to subside. We got back to the rafting office which was just a shirt ride away. I grabbed our clothes out of the trunk of the car (thankfully, I had the right key). It was really nice to towel off, and change into dry clothes. I took our stuff and put it back into the trunk of the car and headed in for pizza. There were two big sheet pizza boxes, but no pizza. We were told they ordered some more. A smaller pepperoni pizza arrived. My wife got one small slice and I got two small slices. We also got some hot chocolate. I guess that was all the pizza. We were still starving. We headed to the nearby McDonalds and got some more food while we both warmed up.
Overall, it was a great deal. The checkin process could have been a little more organized. The raft trip itself was great. The guide we had was excellent. My one complaint was the lack of pizza at the end.