on July 14, 2007
I’ve been white water rafting a couple of times before so I must admit that the Truckee River Rafting experience was a little disappointing. If you’re looking for adventure, this isn’t the place to find it. However, if this is your first rafting experience or you’re looking for some laid back entertainment it’s not a bad option.There are two rafting companies that operate out of Tahoe City. I don’t know what distinguishes them (except maybe the colour of the paddles) but we booked with Mountain Air Sports. Unbeknown to us, it paid to phone ahead and reserve a time slot as it meant a $5 per person discount.Signing in is an interesting process. A yellow wristband is attached to your arm and must be worn for the entire trip. River police are on duty and will take the raft away from anyone not wearing one. We were lucky to be directed to a parking spot close by as most people were offloaded into an overflow car park a few miles down the road. With wristbands and parking space figured out, we walked through a tiny shop, grabbing an ice cream on the way, and signed in at another desk where our name was added to the waiting list. Life jackets were distributed although we were told that didn’t have to wear them, they just had to be in the boat. This seemed like a strange rule but in near 100 degree heat and with most of the river being at wading depth I was pretty happy that I wasn’t forced to wear it.After a short wait, the four of us jumped into our raft along with a cooler holding a few bottles of beer, water and sun tan lotion, all of which I’d highly recommend taking. You’ll see a lot of people floating down the Truckee River on their own inflatables; we saw two girls on a bed! For the over 16s, the preoccupations are sunbathing, drinking or flirting, and for the families, it’s playtime and water fights. Dogs are also permitted and as each raft can carry up to 15 people, there’s plenty of room for all the family.The self-guided trip takes about 2 hours. You can make stops to paddle and there’s a portacabin at the half way mark for a toilet break. The river is extremely gentle and only at the end are you really required to do any sort of maneuvering. My brother-in-law and my husband had a small struggle to paddle our raft into the cove where rafts and people are then transported back up the road.Although drifting through the mountain corridor was very picturesque, the river is unfortunately located just below Highway 89 so the roar of the traffic never really allows you to get away from it all. Besides which you’re sharing the river with hundreds of other people at a time so you literally do have to sit back, crack open a beer and go with the flow!
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