Welcome to CW's blog for news and announcements.
  • 12/07/2016 10:17 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    2016 was a great year for Colorado Whitewater in so many ways. 2017 looks to be shaping up nicely, as well. 

    The 2016 CW board of directors was an energetic crew who took on a number of new projects in addition to all the standard awesomeness of our instruction program, social events, and river events. CW 2016 Access and Conservation Director Lauren Nance took over the monumental task of organizing the South Platte River Cleanup in April. The event was a raging success with one of the highest levels of participation and even 9News coming to cover the story. More than 200 people showed up to remove about two tons of trash from the river, including items such as shopping carts, baby strollers, and more plastic bottles than you can imagine. Denver Beer Company hosted the after-party, there was a ton of great schwag, and all participants got a commemorative T-shirt. 

    CW plans to take the lead on organizing the event (along with a number of terrific sponsors) again in 2017 under the direction of new Access and Conservation Director, Tim Friday. Tim is very passionate about the Peaks to Plains Trail project and how it affects the Clear Creek corridor. He’s already working with Jeffco to provide feedback from the whitewater community.

    Bailey Fest was started in 2010 by front range paddler Ian Foley and proceeded to grow in size and popularity up until a few wet summers kept the tunnel closed. Water through the Roberts Tunnel is earmarked for irrigation, and the use is tightly controlled. Getting the tunnel turned on for any reason other than to fulfill the requirements of downstream use and storage presents a challenge. Colorado Whitewater, the new organizer of the Fest, continues the mission to secure one weekend of recreational flows through the tunnel. This year, CW Safety Director Pete Bellande took up the organizational test and delivered a great fest. We look forward to Pete continuing in the role of safety Director in 2017 and coordinating the event again. 

    2016 Cruise Director Jessie Gunter did a remarkable job of recruiting volunteers to lead trips for our members. The cruise schedule basically exploded with trips every single weekend! We’re counting on her to continue being awesome in 2017, too.

    Instruction Director Dick Alweis improved the variety of courses offered at our winter and spring pool sessions at Meyers Pool in Arvada  and extended the instruction into the summer season. He’s planning to add some slalom and roll classes in 2017. If you’ve never taken a slalom class, you’ll be amazed at how the techniques translate to river running.

    Some behind the scenes changes include the Spray Newsletter (Editor Gene Hakanson) updating to an electronic only format, adding an Insurance Director board position (Leslie Tyson), and phasing out the Competition (Jo Albers) and play boating board seats, although Dave Holzman will organize the Golden Rodeo again in 2017.

    There were a number of board members who quietly moved mountains in 2016, people without whom this club would not function. Laurie Maciag, as Events Director, handled so many projects that we decided to split the position into two categories for 2017. Judy Thomas will be the new Social Events Director. She is already working on possibly adding a new movie screening event, and new River Events Director Brooke Smith will oversee the organization of on-water events, such as Poudre, Arkansas, and Colorado River Weekends. He is also working on coordinating with Peter Holcombe to make New Year’s Day on Shoshone a CW event!

    You may not be aware of all the hard work contributed by some of the less visible board members. Patrick Tooley has been our legal advisor and voice of reason for a long time now, and April Hillman is the administrative genius in charge of membership. Merchandise Director Karen Moldenhauer has really improved the selection of cool CW wearables and cool goodies, as well as pitching in to help with about a zillion events. Advertising and Publicity Director Jodi Lee has been a tireless resource, forming partnerships and sponsorships and creating the messaging around everything we do. Jodi has also handled CW booth participation at festivals to increase our visibility to the whitewater community and always pitches in to help run events.

    Secretary Kyla Kolbeck kept us on track and made board meetings super-efficient. She is handing the baton to Daniel Lundberg, who is already off to a good start even before our first board meeting. We are very fortunate that Jeremiah Krayna will be continuing in the role of treasurer, as he’s done an excellent job of managing our finances. At our October meeting, Jeremiah pointed out that we are well positioned to do something more to benefit our members and as a result, it was decided that we would offer more discounted Swift Water Rescue courses in 2017.

    Scott Winkleman has done a tremendous job with the vast and never-ending responsibility of running our website for a long time now and is handing it off to Heidi Haas, who is well qualified due to her experience running the Chicago Whitewater website. I’ll organize Training Camp again, I’ve got it dialed in, and I love it!

    A few months ago one of our board members told me they had worked with a number of nonprofits, but was especially impressed with how efficient and passionate the Colorado Whitewater board is. I was so thrilled to hear this perspective from someone who is relatively new to our community, and it caused me to reflect more than usual. I am really grateful to work with such a great group of people. We really are an amazing little gang. That being said, there are many amazing volunteers in this club, including instructors and trip leaders and people helping with events—everything from flipping burgers at Bailey Fest to running video cameras at Training Camp.

    We will certainly have plenty of volunteer opportunities in 2017. If you’re interested in helping, you can contact board members in your area of interest or watch your e-mail and the Facebook groups for specific opportunities. Colorado Whitewater runs on 100 percent volunteer power. It’s a good feeling to be part of such a positive, giving, FUN community. I’m glad you’re here, and I’m looking forward to another awesome year!

    Elizabeth Austen
    President, Colorado Whitewater

  • 12/07/2016 10:09 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Tim Friday

    This year’s Fall Dinner, held at the American Mountaineering Center in Golden, was well-attended and highlighted by a presentation on the Peaks to Plains Trail, a sixty-five-mile trail that will extend from Loveland Pass to the confluence of Clear Creek with the South Platte River.  Scot Grossman, project manager for Jeffco Open Space, provided a comprehensive overview of the project with some great slides and commentary. Scot has been working on this project for over five years and is definitely passionate about his work. He also enjoys river rafting, so he can understand the project impact to the boating community. You can find out more about the project here, and CW will be providing comments on the portion of the project that lies within Jefferson County to Scot for consideration and further discussion. 

    In addition to the presentation, all those who attended enjoyed some delicious food provided by Moe’s BBQ as well as refreshing adult beverages donated by New Belgium Brewing and supplemented by a variety of other beverages donated by CW and attendees. As always, it was great to be with our kayaking friends, share stories and talk about upcoming river trips!  

  • 10/17/2016 8:32 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service in cooperation with Colorado Parks and Wildlife invite you to share your views about the Browns Canyon National Monument landscape at an upcoming listening session. 

    RSVP here to attend

    Listening Session Dates:

    • DENVER - Thursday, October 27, 10:00-12:00 @ REI Denver, 1416 Platte St, Denver
    • COLORADO SPRINGS - Thursday, October 27, 4:00-6:00 @ Colorado Parks & Wildlife Building, 4255 Sinton Rd, Colorado Springs
    • SALIDA - Saturday, October 29, 10:00-12:00 @ Steam Plant, 220 W Sackett Ave, Salida
    • CAÑON CITY - Saturday, October 29, 2:30-4:30 @ The Abbey, 2951 E Hwy 50, Cañon City
    • BUENA VISTA - Tuesday, November 15, 6:00-8:00 @ Buena Vista School District Boardroom, 113 North Court, Buena Vista

    By participating in a listening session, you will help shape understanding about how people interact with the Browns Canyon area, what is meaningful about the area and its role in the way people live, work and play. Your participation will help inform the upcoming land-use planning process.

    Learn more about the Browns Canyon National Monument planning process at

    Download the flyer

  • 10/07/2016 10:25 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Dave Hajoglou

    Bailey Fest 2016 from Kaelan Hendrickson on Vimeo.

    Two kayak paddles mark the turn into the Bailey Fest campground. The campground is the ideal location for one of Colorado’s newest river fests. There are no races, no freestyle comp, no yoga, and the only spectators are the paddlers themselves. What there is, is water, which is a rare commodity in mid-summer. The water originates mostly in Lake Dillon and is piped through the fourteen-mile Roberts Tunnel to the North fork of the South Platte. When the Roberts Tunnel is on, Bailey is the center of Colorado creeking. After two years of no water, this year they Turned On the Tunnel.

    Bailey Fest started in 2010 by front ranger paddler Ian Foley. The Fest proceeded to grow in size and popularity up until a few wet summers kept the tunnel closed. Water through the Roberts Tunnel is earmarked for irrigation, and the use is tightly controlled. Getting the tunnel turned on for any reason other than to fulfill the requirements of downstream use and storage presents a challenge. Colorado Whitewater, the new organizer of the Fest, continues the mission to secure one weekend of recreation flows through the tunnel. This year, Pete Bellande took up the organizational mantel and delivered a great fest.

    To borrow a phrase: if you turn it on, they will come. This year drew in around 140 paddlers. Most were from Colorado with the dependably rowdy contingent from Durango and a sizable group from Steamboat. License plates from all over the United States were parked in the campground. The fest also drew in international guests Andy Gabrys, originally of Chilliwack, Canada; Calum Bradbury of New Castle, England; and Asaf Arad, German/Israeli from Kenya coming by way of Quebec and Guatemala before that. Of the these three, Asaf stands out as being the only river boarder of the day and a professional river boarder (yes, that’s a thing) at that! Asaf heard about Bailey fest a few years back and managed to add it into his North American Tour. “It’s a superfine run, classic river, challenging,” Asaf commented. “The people were great and the party was awesome.” Asaf would know seeing as how his vehicle was parked at ground zero for the evening festivities.

    Colum, age twenty-three, worked last winter at Whistler and learned of Bailey Fest after meeting up with members of the CU Kayak Club. Like many, this was his first time on Bailey, and he commented that “The river was super fun and continuous, never ending whitewater.” He also noticed the genuine appreciation of the river. “The Fest was really good too, nice to see such a big paddling community. It reminded me of the Wet West Festival in Scotland.”

    Bailey Fest brings the typical fest elements: music (by fellow kayaker Chrispy and his band Liberal Monkey Movement); beer from local sponsors Oakar Blues and Good River Beer; a kayak drawing courtesy of Jackson Kayak, won by Ruth Eipper; and a fair few hangovers the next day. The takeout party, where the booty beer tradition carries on (I counted six booties), and the after-party at the campground draw boaters of all abilities, the spouses and shuttle drivers, and the CW volunteers who worked hard to put on the fest. 

    Bailey Fest has something most other fests don’t. Centered at the Supermax Rapid is the inner fest, so to speak. Kayakers, rafters, and the odd river boarder assemble at Supermax to watch the action at the crux rapid. The banks are lined with paddlers who are of sufficient quality to navigate to the middle of this relatively remote location. Here, this assembly cheers on, laughs at, and occasionally helps rescue their fellow paddlers as the best try their hand, often for the first time. Standing on the banks, as Ian pointed out years ago, there is no spectator, no gaper, no press, that isn’t also a paddler that must navigating this river to be here. This year was no different with a spirited atmosphere complete with superb lines, comical flips, and at least one rather unpleasant swim.

    After a two-year figurative drought due to wetter than normal summers, Bailey Fest is back and back to its roots. A simple celebration of one of Colorado’s highest quality runs in a season where water is short.  Soon we’ll be pining for next year when the chant goes up to Turn On the Tunnel!

  • 10/07/2016 10:03 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Tim Friday

    Anyone who has boated Clear Creek in Clear Creek and/or Jefferson Counties in the last two years probably has seen the paved trail being constructed along the creek between Idaho Springs and Mayhem Gulch. This is part of the Peaks to Plains Trail, a sixty-five-mile off-highway opportunity to travel along Clear Creek from the Continental Divide at the Eisenhower Tunnel to the confluence of the South Platte River in Adams County. 

    This project seemingly may be flying under the radar of the boating community, but it has been in the planning stages for over a decade and the project manager, Scot Grossman with Jeffco Open Space, has been coordinating with rafting companies operating on Clear Creek in Idaho Springs. Now that the project has progressed into the more popular kayaking stretches of whitewater, it has gotten the attention of a number of us kayakers who enjoy the whitewater from Kermit's to Golden.   

    There are eight segments comprising the trail in Jefferson County running from the canyon mouth upstream to the county line where the highway splits at U.S. Highway 6 and State Highway 119. The next segment to be designed and built (Segment 1) will start at the mouth of Clear Creek Canyon and end a few hundred yards downstream of the old diversion dam just upstream of Tunnel 1, and it is not too late to get involved. 

    The Clear Creek Canyon Trail Feasibility Report (March 27, 2006) is available for review. This report documents the feasibility of the trail and its support facilities in light of a number of criteria: trail constructability, resource protection, visitor safety and experience, regulatory agency approval, and cost.  The overall project goal is to provide a multi-use open space park and trail that accomplishes the following:

    • A continuous multi-purpose trail from Golden to the Jefferson County line with Clear Creek County; an important link that will connect the Plains toward the Continental Divide and beyond;
    • Support facilities including trailheads, parking lots, day-use areas, and restrooms in a number of locations up and down the Canyon;
    • Continued and enhanced access for existing recreational uses such as rock climbing, whitewater rafting and kayaking, gold panning, and fishing; and,
    • Trail connections to other Open Space parks, including Centennial Cone Park and Windy Saddle park.

    Each segment of the trail is being constructed through a design-build process; meaning the designer and contractor are working together with the County to design and build the trail under one contract. The sequence of constructing each segment is based on priorities established by Jefferson County. The County submitted multiple grants this summer to raise funds for Segment 1. If these grants are successful, the project will be awarded to a design-build team in 2017. Construction will not commence until 2018 at the earliest though.

    Based on a cursory review of the feasibility report, the overall impact to whitewater boating will be improved river access with safer ingress and egress points, real parking facilities, and real bathrooms at select locations. However, preserving the character of the whitewater features is also extremely important and this will be the concern of many boaters who enjoy the various stretches of whitewater in this corridor. So please help in providing constructive input to this project and look for more information from Colorado Whitewater in The Spray, through e-mails, and on the website in the near future. More information can also be found here:

  • 08/05/2016 2:19 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Jim Green
    Photos and video by Gail Tubbs

    I got into town just a little later than I expected. There was a group headed to Brown’s Canyon on Friday, and I took the day off to get on the river. Sometimes life gets in the way of recreation with things such as work, doctors, etc… Once I got that done, I jumped into my ghetto camper and headed out. No way I was going to make it in time to meet the Brown’s crew, so I notified them on Facebook (ahhhh technology!). I heard they had a great time without me.

    With a little extra time in town, I suggested everyone stop by and say hi to our friends at Deerhammer Distillery. They are boaters, good people, and generally friends of Colorado Whitewater. I did some “business” in there and met Nick. Nick remembered me the next day when we met on the Numbers. Also, the whitewater play park in Buena Vista is great for killing some time and getting in the water. The downtown hole has to be one of the mellowest user-friendly play features in the state. I’m a flatspinning fool on that thing. Perfect for my tastes.

    Friday night at these events is always a fun time. New people come in that haven’t ever met before. Old friends, and many onetime river acquaintances show up. Everyone in Colorado Whitewater has lots of those folks that they only see occasionally. It’s a cool time to meet people again for the first time and talk about plans for the weekend. I told everyone that asked that I was doing the Numbers or Brown’s Canyon the next day. I specifically worded it this way so that if I chickened out of getting on Numbers, I had Brown’s to fall back on. 

    The next morning, I settled on Numbers with a SOLID group led by Leslie Tyson. Let me say what a pleasure it was to be with a group that knew the run so well. George Tyson led me down a perfect line on #4 that made me feel like a hero. This was the best trip I’ve ever had down the Numbers, until it wasn’t. I let my guard down and swam a class II section.  

    It’s hard to explain what it’s like when we have a good day kayaking and all the nervousness is gone, but we all know the feeling. That’s when I can really enjoy cooking some good food, having a drink, and hanging with friends. We can debate all year long whether the group and camp life or the river is the core of a Colorado Whitewater weekend. 

    I think the Arkansas weekend is the whole package, and it wouldn’t be the same without the potluck. I’d like to give a shout out to Barbara Ames for her delicious curry soup. Big props to her for bringing homemade! This year’s Arkansas weekend was great success thanks to our illustrious organizer Laurie Maciag. Her tireless work to get the poopers in place is appreciated by all of us (including some uninvited rafter types). 

    To me the weekend wouldn’t be the same without all of us together in one big circle of camp chairs telling stories about our successes and failures for the day. If you haven’t been on a river weekend with Colorado Whitewater this is what it’s all about.

  • 08/05/2016 2:03 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Elizabeth Austen
    Photos by Terry Standlee

    My friend Mark keeps telling I should give up running CW’s annual Training Camp. He thinks it’s too much work and I’ll get burned out on volunteering. He has a point, that has happened before. But that was back then. And now, I’m on a mission. Training Camp is like a drug for me. It gives me a feeling I can’t get any other way. And I can’t walk away, I have to make the next one even better!  With that in mind, there will be a survey coming soon, and it would be GREAT to have feedback from people who attended this year.

    I am so grateful for all the people who come together and contribute—in countless ways—to make this event a success. It is, by far, our largest annual event, it’s our biggest fundraiser, and it takes a village to make it happen. Fortunately, we have an incredible village of kind, smart, fun, giving folks who help in so many ways, and this boat surely wouldn’t float without them. Most importantly and probably most obviously are the CW instruction team members who lead classes. CW instructors are certified to teach for the club via the American Canoe Association’s training guidelines, and the training is paid for with club funds. Instructors are then beholden to give forty hours annually to teaching for CW for five years, at which point they can opt to recertify. These people are particularly selfless. They teach at the CW-sponsored pool sessions throughout the winter at Meyers Pool in Arvada, conduct flat-water and moving-water weekends for the newest kayakers just prior to Training Camp, and then top it off with Training Camp itself, never mind that most of them also lead cruises and mentor people outside of the CW structure. If you’re a solid class III+ boater with a mentoring mentality and an interest in joining our instruction team, contact CW Instruction Director Dick Alweis at for a private conversation. 

    CW is also fortunate to have about a zillion terrific mentors who are not trained as instructors, but are strong boaters with good rescue skills and a desire to help with the on-water activities. And then there are so many folks who help at the event with the logistics of things like checking people in, selling raffle tickets and conducting the raffle itself, taking video for classes, setting up tents and tables and technology and moving things, bringing tablets for video, lanterns and lights and tents and whiteboards. Behind the scenes was CW Webmaster Scott Winkleman, putting together the big puzzle of information and class registrations in a way that made sense. Treasurer Jermiah Krayna handled refunds and vendor payments efficiently and Membership Director April Hillman assisted in making sure all registrants were current members and therefore insured—which is actually a very important component. Additionally, a key piece that most people don’t even know about is the safety plan and event insurance facilitated by our Insurance Director Leslie Tyson. That’s a big headache and a vital piece. I’m so very relieved and thankful that Leslie is willing to take on those pain-in-the-arse tasks!

    We had 200 people in attendance at our 2016 event, up from about 170 the previous year. The camp sites were full and people had to make friends with their camp neighbors. Which is a big part of the event anyway, and if you’re not interested in connecting with other people, this is not the event for you! If you met fun people at Training Camp and don’t know how to contact them now, you can find them via the CW member directory o line. Log in at and go to the Resources tab, then click on member directory.

    On Friday night, after we overcame some technical difficulties, Peter, Kathy, and Abby Holcombe did their presentation, “Famago-go: The First Year.” In 2014 they sold their home in Boulder, Colorado, and moved into a twenty-four-foot RV to explore the United States and earn their living through their tremendous photographic skills. They shared their fantastic journey via a fun, fast-paced, interactive presentation with a zillion photos and video clips. If you want to know more about them and follow them virtually, you can visit their website at Peter was also kind enough to take some photos for us at our event again this year. Thanks, Holcombes! 

    On Saturday morning, we got things moving with a quick safety talk by CW Safety Director, the ever amusing Pete Bellande, and a good stretch led by CW Instructor David Clair, who also owns Fitness for Living and knows a thing or two about injury prevention (  A volunteer from Colorado Parks and Wildlife was present to sell state park passes and encourage us to participate in the river cleanup that Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (AHRA) hosts the same weekend every year. They have a terrific safety brochure with maps of the area available here:

    Instructors came forward to claim their groups, and everyone began to prepare for the on-water fun.  We had a wide range of classes and abilities from brand-new kayakers who just completed pool classes and their first time on moving water to Level-up Bootcamp, complete with video playback.  We had high attendance in the Level B Intermediate Fundamentals classes (had to add more!) and not as many people in the level C and D groups. Of course, the Intro to Playboating class with Emily Jackson and Nick Troutman of Team Jackson / Jackson Kayak was a big hit. We also had terrific guest instructors Holly McClintock from Four Corners Rafting in Durango and Kyle Johan from RMOC in BV. We appreciate the assistance and sponsorship from these companies and their bright and shiny instructors! One of the things we are always striving to improve is the selection of classes. We’d love to have your feedback and suggestions for next year, via the survey (coming soon).

    On Saturday evening, we had good food provided once again by Jodi Johring of Classic Country Catering (  I am so happy to have found a good caterer who doesn’t mind coming out to the middle of nowhere to cook for 200 people in a tiny space at a campground with unreliable electric and facilities that do not even vaguely resemble a commercial kitchen! Some of the folks who have been attending TC for many years can sure tell some stories regarding past food fiascos including bad food, burned food, being berated by the caterer to not take more than your share because she didn’t make enough, and actually running out of food! One year I actually didn’t get any dinner. Jodi and her crew have proven to be a terrific improvement.

    Post dinner we had live “jazzy folk and blues” tunes from Nathan Rivera and Jessie Andra Smith (  They live in California but have friends in Salida and arranged their schedule to accommodate us. Their style was unusual and refreshing, and their attitude was equally delightful, Nathan provided more music at breakfast on Sunday morning and set a sweet tone for the day. 

    On Sunday morning, we had our awards and the big deal—the PRIZES!  We had so many terrific prizes provided by friends and sponsors, it was quite a spectacle and our Events Director Laurie Maciag ran her tukus off handling the presentation, culminating with the grand prize of the Jackson Kayak Fun.

    I was thrilled that I actually got on the water Sunday! I tagged along with Leslie Tyson’s Level A group and test-drove my new Jackson Zen. (Loving it!) After some big fun on the water, I headed back to clean up, pack up, and wait for all groups to report that they were safely off the water. As I packed, up some pals came to hang out ,and we ended up having an impromptu dance party in from of HQ at cabin 10. What a fun way to wind up my favorite event in the whole world. No, Mark, I won’t “give up” Training Camp. It’s my happy place. And we’re gonna do it again next year. I hope you’ll all be there!

  • 06/21/2016 4:25 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Written by Aaron States
    Edited by Aaron S. Johnson
    Photography by Colin Caruth

    It’s three in the morning, and I’m too excited to sleep. My dog gives a slight a huff as I crawl out of bed and turn on YouTube. May as well watch that roll video one more time since the only thing I’ve mastered is the wet exit and the window shade. It’s no use. I’ve memorized this roll video, and I still can’t figure it out. I need more pool practice. I need to sleep. I kill the TV and crawl back into bed. When I wake up, I’ll gulp some coffee and load my kayak and camping gear into my truck. It’s Poudre weekend!

    Poudre weekend is an exciting time for Colorado Whitewater members. It’s an especially exciting weekend for all of the newbies because with our lack of experience, it’s a perfect opportunity to paddle with experienced CW members and instructors. We’ve put in our time at the pool, the lake, and training camp. Now we get to apply our skills on the river in some fast moving class-III rapids. We finally have the opportunity to go cruising down the river in our kayaks with our new friends! Fun is almost guaranteed; hopefully we’ll huck our skills up a bit too.

    I pull up to the campground early Saturday morning. A few members made it in last night, as evidenced by the kayaks and tents scattered about. I find my site and quickly set it up so I can cook breakfast. My dog whines; he’s hungry too. After breakfast, we saddle up and head down to Picnic Rock. The parking lot is packed with CW members, and the vibe is already flowing as hugs and smiles are exchanged between, well, everybody. I get out of my truck and immediate get told, “Watch out!” I turn my head and look at where Aaron is pointing, and almost get run over. I laugh as I remind him, “Dude, point positive!” We hug and say hello, then we break into smaller groups based on skill levels with leads and sweeps. We shuffle our kayaks into vehicles and shuttle up to our put-in points. It’s game time!

    Only the sweep and lead can roll consistently in my group, so we put in just below Mad Dog rapid in order to warm up by practicing getting in and out of eddies and some ferrying. Our warm-up run goes smoothly, and this time we shuttle to just above Mad Dog, and I get my first look at it. It doesn’t look mad; it looks charming, inviting even. There’s a little bit of a lateral to the rapid on river left under the tree, and a nice big green tongue leading to the peak followed by some choppy boogie water. I got this! We put in just above Mad Dog and go for it. I’m third in line, and I watch the first two paddlers successfully navigate the rapid. As I approach my line, I realize the current is pushing further left than I want. I’m racing down the left edge of the tongue as I approach the rapid, and it’s huge! There’s five feet of rabid canine about to bite down on me, and it does! I square up to the lateral, lean forward, dig my paddle, and charge up the wave. As my bow reaches to the horizon, the lateral element crashes over the top of my boat with enough force to smash my paddle into my helmet. I come over the top of the rapid; I’m leaning hard to the right, but I remember my training. I just keep paddling, and somehow I make it! We all made it, and we all slapped high fives with our paddles.

    As we get back to the campground, it’s a hustle and bustle of wet gear being hung out to dry and tales of survival being shared over cold beer. Apparently not everyone made it through the rapids without incident. With this large of a group, there’s bound to be swimmers. Everyone swims. Today was the first day I didn’t swim. I’ll probably swim tomorrow! One strainer, near the take-out, snarled up two would-be paddlers-turned-swimmers. A scary scenario indeed, but both paddlers, with the quick responses of their leads and sweeps, were able to mitigate their situations and get safely to shore. If the strainer wasn’t enough excitement for Jane, it turns out she was welcomed home to her cabin by a rattlesnake! Fortunately no one got bit, thanks to the KOA caretakers who are pros at catching snakes.

    Someone throws the ball for my dog to go fetch, which grabs my attention. I see Tim, standing two tents down, dripping wet. He’s got his kayak on his shoulder and a giant grin on his face. I start laughing because I already know. I saw the puddle-sized campground pool when I arrived. I ask, “How’s the pool?” “Friendly!” is his response. Apparently, his roll practice drew quite the crowd, and it morphed into a flat-water rodeo show for some non-paddling campers. Way to go, Tim!

    My stomach grumbles; I’m hungry again. Heck, I’m starving! Everyone played hard today, and it’s time to eat. Be aware, we’re not your stereotypical river bums living off of ramen noodles. This is Colorado Whitewater, and we like to feast! It’s a potluck dinner, and the spread is incredible. BBQ ribs, gumbo, couscous, chili, and even apple pie! I’m the epitome of a dirty kayaker; all I brought was a fork, and I think I ate about half of Curt’s chili by myself! It doesn’t matter though. There’s plenty of food for everyone, and we’re a river family. After dinner, the night winds down, and I find myself sitting in a rather large group circle. We all take turns telling a quick story about our favorite event from today. It feels good to be a part of this tribe. It feels like I’ve found a home. I can’t wait to turn in and do it all again tomorrow. We’re Colorado Whitewater. Come for the paddling, stay for the people.

  • 06/21/2016 3:49 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Laurie Maciag

    The 2016 Spring Dinner was one of the best ever! Attendance was off the charts as was the excitement for our speaker and the events of the evening.

    Steve Fisher, world renowned kayaker, graced our club as our featured speaker. He shared stories of his adventures as an extreme athlete and expedition paddler across the globe as well as his time behind the camera as director, producer and editor. He also gave us a sneak peek at his newest production of Lonnie Bedwell, a blind paddler, kayaking some of the most challenging whitewater on Earth, the Zambezi.

    We dined on amazing Indian food provided by Biju’s Little Curry Shop and enjoyed some sweet treats afterwards.

    Good River Beer Company and New Belgium donated keg beer and tap service.  Other amazing sponsors included DownRiver Equipment, Tuff River Stuff, Confluence Kayaks, Pete Belland – Remax of Cherry Creek, Golden River Sports, Mountain Khakis, and Hala. CW couldn’t do what we do without these great business supporting our events. Much appreciation!

  • 06/19/2016 7:55 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Jodi Lee

    Similar to last year, Colorado Whitewater was an event sponsor of CKS Paddlefest held on May 27th-29th as well as Lyons Outdoor Games on June 4th. At both events, our booth was set up near the river where we had many visitors stop by to see what CW is all about. 

    When you first walked up to the booth, you'd see a game that says "PLAY TO WIN". Just like the Plinko game from The Price Is Right show, you drop a disk at the top of the board where it bounces down to reach a prize at the bottom. 

    The Prizes: You Swim! Booty Beer; Candy; CW Sticker; CW Koozie (ran out of these so now offering CW Chapstick); CW Key Chain Bottle Opener; Portage! Try Again. 

    This game enticed people of all ages to come to our booth to win a prize. If visitors were curious about Colorado Whitewater, then we'd brief them about CW, we had CW brochures to hand out, a sign about the membership benefits, and also sold quite a bit of our merchandise.  

    It's great to be a part of these events as it gets our name and mission out there to many new folks -- some just moved to Colorado and were looking for groups to boat with, while others had heard of us and were interested in some of our events. Plus, during the festivals, there were several organized CW river cruises and the booth was a common place for our members to come mingle with a beer in hand.

    I'd like to personally thank the following volunteers for helping at the booth: Ryan Lee, Aaron States, Jenny McCurdy, Curt Cleavinger, and Jessie Gunter. 

    Colorado Whitewater has been invited to attend other river festivals such as FIBArk and Royal Gorge Whitewater Festival, but it's been a struggle to find volunteers to commit to manning the booth. Next year, I plan to have the booth at CKS Paddlefest and Lyons Outdoor Games again. If we get enough enthusiasm and volunteers to help at other events, then we might possibly have our booth at those events too!

    Jodi Lee is in charge of Publicity/Advertising on the Colorado Whitewater Board of Directors. She has been kayaking since 2002 and loves camping, kayaking, skiing, swimming (in a pool or lake... not outside her kayak), mountain biking, trail running, and gardening.

Colorado Whitewater is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  455 Sherman Street, Suite 300 Denver, CO 80203

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