Springtime not only means blossoming flowers, birds chirping, and fresh dewy grass, it also means rafting season has begun! The snow has melted off mountain peaks, the sun is out, and the river is running at full speed.
Rafting in the early season comes with a few unique challenges, but with some preparation, a springtime rafting trip can be incredibly intoxicating.
Rafting the Runoff
In the spring, water levels are at all-time highs, with the mountain runoff and lake thaw turning the Thompson River into a raging mass of whitewater and rapids. On average, the spring runoff is around 115,000 cubic feet per second (or CFS) making the mighty Thompson mightier than most rivers in North America which meander at a pace of between 1200 and 5000 CFS. To put it in less technical terms, the Thompson is big, fast, and strong, especially in the spring.
Because of the power of the Thompson in spring, Kumsheen only runs Power Rafting trips from May until the end of June, with paddle trips starting July 1st, providing the flow isn’t still too strong.
If you are new to the whitewater scene, power rafting is an awesome introduction, with the rafts providing greater stability, buoyancy and maneuverability than paddle rafts. Plus you don’t have to do the paddling, just sit back and enjoy!
But don’t be fooled. Paddle rafts also pack a hardcore punch when it comes to getting through the rapids when the water is high and the river is raging. You’ll have the splashes, and laughs, guaranteed to thrill, provided you are prepared.
Layering is Key
Whitewater rafting in spring doesn’t just mean more roar for your buck, it also means the water is a fair bit chillier than summer. So a well-planned approach to layering is highly encouraged, and can make any early season trip perfect and — dare we even say it — warm!
The key is to layer so your core is warm and dry. Stay away from jeans and cotton as they are the worst fabrics to wear on the river as they soak up water and actually make you colder! You want to choose layers with insulating superpowers that will keep your body temperature normal. Wool, polypropylene, neoprene, or synthetic sweat-wicking fabrics will do the trick.
Your next layer should be a fleece top that will help insulate your body heat. A rain jacket and rain pants are the crucial final layer as we can guarantee you will get splashed! No matter the weather, rafting in spring is a wild and wet ride.
If you are planning on bringing your own rain gear make sure it is waterproof rather than water resistant. Hoods are also a great addition to keep pesky frigid water drops from dripping down your neck.
And don’t forget about your feet! A pair of wool, neoprene or polypropylene socks will keep your toes nice and toasty along with secure footwear like water booties and running shoes. You’ll be warm from tip to toe.
We’ve Got Your Back
We understand that sometimes in the excitement of leaving the house to embark on a trip to Kumsheen you might forget to pack something crucial. It happens to the best of us. Well, we’ve got you covered! We want you to be as comfortable as possible on the river so we sell warm layers and provide wetsuits and splash gear free of charge if you don’t have your own. We also rent water booties or sell them if you prefer to have your own. They’ll be great for your next rafting ride, because we know you’ll come back.
And then after an adrenaline-fuelled day, what better way to relax back at the resort than taking a soak in the hot tub or curling up by the fire and sipping hot chocolate?
If you’re still feeling skeptical about rafting the spring runoff, we guarantee you’ll have so much fun on the raft you’ll forget all about the cooler weather!