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Mountain Whitewater Descents

Summer Memories: A Reason to be Thankful

At Mountain Whitewater, we are privileged to be able to help create and share life-long positive memories with our guests while traveling the Poudre River.

By Ben Costello, November 2015

Summer Memories: A Group High Five ojn the Last Day of the 2015 Poudre Rafting Season
As we approach the end of the year and the weather begins to turn colder we tend to start to think back about the past year. We remember all the fun things we experienced. We recall the time we were able to spend with friends and family. We relive the memories of our adventures. We remind ourselves of the challenges we faced and how we were able to overcome those challenges. The end of the year also brings us the holiday season were we reflect on the things in our lives we are most thankful for. As I look back on 2015, it is obvious that we have a lot to be thankful for at Mountain Whitewater.

We are thankful to operate on the only “Wild and Scenic River” in Colorado. The Cache La Poudre is truly a special place and is a perfect setting to create Summer Memories: Guests Enjoying a Rafting Trip with Mountain Whitewaterwonderful and lasting memories. We are thankful for the community in which we live. Fort Collins is a fantastic city full of people who share our love of the outdoors and value spending time in nature. We are thankful for our fantastic staff. Mountain Whitewater would not be the same without the eclectic, caring, fun-loving employees who love sharing their river experiences with others. Most of all, we are thankful for all the amazing guests who come to Mountain Whitewater for a summer adventure. We continually strive to provide an educational, entertaining and rewarding experience while traveling with our guests. We are thankful to create memories that will last a lifetime.

Summer Memories: Mountain Whitewater Guide Smiling as they Smash a Wave

My favorite memory from this past summer occurred during high-water in June. There were several couples who rode in the raft I was guiding, one couple on their anniversary. The weather was beautiful that day, mostly sunny, but not too warm. We had a successful run with lots of splashes and an adrenaline rush when one person briefly exited the raft. We saw a deer on the riverbank and even an eagle searching for a meal. After the trip, I sat with the anniversary to have a beer while discussing the trip. The part of the day that I remember most was part of this conversation. The couple told me that this trip will be there most memorable anniversary yet and that they hope to come back for next years celebrations as well. It was very satisfying for me to get such a complement.
Here are just a few quotes our guests shared with us about their memories form this past summer:

“Could Not Have Been a Better Experience, The staff at Mountain Whitewater Descents delivered an unforgettable rafting experience for our family.” -Ross from Springfield, MO

“The whole family agreed this was the best activity we did on our trip to Colorado and MWD was definitely the best choice…They created camaraderie between the people on the different rafts and had us all laughing together.” -BeachSwan

“Had one of the most perfect experiences. The guides were very professional, knowledgable, fun and safe…Our children enjoyed themselves immensely and have not stopped talking about the day.” -Nik from Manchester, UK

“We have participated in numerous family activities but undoubtedly Mountain Whitewater Descents ranks at the top as one of our best family outings, ever! Luckily, we have lots of memories thanks to the video of us as we cruised down the Poudre taken by the staff photographer. ..Thank you all at Mountain Whitewater Descents’ staff for a magical, spectacular, action-packed day! Paddle High Five!”  -TMA5280 from Denver, CO

Check us out on Trip Advisor to read more testimonials from our fantastic guests! We would love to hear more about your summer memories with Mountain Whitewater as well, so please share with us on Trip Advisor, Facebook or Google+.

Thanks you everyone who contributed to our memories during the summer of 2015. We will look forward to seeing your on the river once again hope that the Poudre River will remain as the inspiration for more great summer memories.

Rafting the Colorado River: An Employee Trip

Mountain Whitewater employees celebrate another great season by participating in a multi-day trip rafting the Colorado River.

By Ben Costello, November 2015

Rafting the Colorado River: Rafts on the Water near Blackrock

It was another great rafting season on the Cache La Poudre River for Mountain Whitewater, one of the best ever in fact. There were great water levels throughout the season and entertaining music at the Paddler’s Pub. A fantastic crew of employees and all our wonderful guests contributed to making 2015 a rafting season to remember. The staff at Mountain Whitewater worked hard all season to ensure a great experience for everyone involved. After all of that hard work, it was time for a group of employees to celebrate the season by going on a multi-day rafting vacation.

In mid October, with permits secured, food packed and rafting and camping equipment secured in trucks, our group of twelve guides headed to Western Colorado for a trip rafting the Colorado River. The plan for the devoted band of river rats was to launch just west of Frutia, Colorado and head down river to spend five days running the Ruby-Horsethief and Westwater Canyons of the Colorado River.

Those who have never experienced an over-night rafting trip often assume the trips are strenuous and rough. Traveling with minimal gear while eating freeze dried food, like backpackers. That is not the case for most rafting trips. Rafts can accommodate lots of gear, a full kitchen, large, comfortable sleeping pads, camp chairs, fire pans, plenty of beer and lots of other creature comforts. Our trip rafting the Colorado River included meals like lasagna, eggs and bacon, steak shish-ka-bobs with artichoke dip, Reuben sandwiches, chicken fajitas and pineapple upside-down cake. Camps were comfortable, even luxurious by camping standards.

Rafting the Colorado River: Breakfast at Mee Canyon

The first part of the journey traveled through the Ruby and Horsethief canyons. This particular stretch of the river contains mostly placid, class I and II water and beautiful desert landscape. Huge red rock walls, calm green water and aromatic desert shrubs are experienced along the way. Birds of prey ride the drafts off the canyon walls while fish jump, leaving ripples on the water surface. It’s a perfect setting for a relaxing row by the oarsmen (and women) captaining the seven rafts on the trip. Two of the guides paddled stand up paddleboards while others simply rode on the bow of a raft. Regardless of the mode of travel, each member of the group enjoyed being out in the desert away from the hustle and bustle of real life. Spending time on a desert river allows for the unmistakable feeling of freedom without worry. No electronic devices, no bills to pay, just the great outdoors with great friends.

Rafting the Colorado River: Precambrian Rock in Westwater Canyon

The group spent the first couple days of our adventure on this part of the river. Popular activities included playing in the water, relaxing by the fire and playing Bocce Ball or Washers. On our layover day, most of the group hiked up Mee Canyon. I stayed back to wait for a couple of our other guides friends who would be meeting us at camp that day. It was nice to spend time soaking in the view. I watched river otters play and waved at other groups of rafters heading down river. We left camp the next day and spent time jumping off the rocks in the Blackrock area before moving on to the Westwater Canyon section of the Colorado River for some exhilarating class III and IV whitewater.

Westwater Canyon is one of the most popular overnight river trips in the Western Colorado/Eastern Utah area. It is the only place, other than the Grand Canyon where a whitewater traveler can see Precambrian rocks like Vishnu Schist and Zoroaster Granite. These rocks and the large, steep canyon walls give it a feel very similar the Grand Canyon. The short, but action packed section of whitewater within the Westwater Canyon area provide for a very wet and wild experience for river runners.

Rafting the Colorado River in Westwater Canyon did not disappoint for our employee trip. We saw mostly warm sunny weather, with just a little rain while running the rapids when you are wet anyway. Most all of the rapids were run successfully by the seasoned guides, smashing through large waves while smiling with joy. One raft, a smaller mini-me did flip in one of the larger rapids called Skull. The raft hit the main, large hydraulic in the rapid and was flipped instantly. But that was not unexpected because rowing a raft as small as the mini-me makes for a wild ride. All went well as the raft was easily righted once it was pulled into an eddy after the rapid. For our group, there is nothing more satisfying than traveling together on a river and running big rapids.

Rafting the Colorado River: Rafts and Paddleboards enter Westwater Canyon

The trip ended with one final night at camp with rowdy campfire discussions about the day of running whitewater. Final rounds of washers and bocce ball were played to determine trip champions and the group enjoyed one last gourmet camp meal. It was another memorable addition to the river logs of the veteran guides and an unforgettable first multi-day experience for a few others. The trip fortified the already tight bond between coworkers. Can’t wait to do it again. A multi-day adventure rafting the Colorado River, or any other river for that matter, is an unbeatable experience. And for our group, it was a perfect way to unwind and celebrate another season doing what we love: guiding rafts on the Cache La Poudre River.

photos by Melissa Matsunaka

Rafting the Colorado River: Calm Waters of Ruby/Horsethief Canyon
Rafting the Colorado River: Sitting Around Camp in the Morning
Rafting the Colorado River: View from Camp at Mee Canyon

Rafting the Colorado River: Melissa Takes a Selfie During Lunch One
Rafting the Colorado: Little Deloris Camp in Westwater Canyon
Rafting the Colorado River: Backflip at Blackrock

Mountain Whitewater Paddleboard Trips in Fort Collins Magazine

Standup Paddleboarding on Horsetooth Reservoir.Mountain Whitewater earned a mention in the latest issue of Fort Collins Magazine as part of a NOCO Bucket List article. The article, titled “The Official Love-Living-Here, Gotta-Do-It, Kick-A** NOCO Bucket List,” outlines 50 things to do in the Fort Collins area that should be on everyone’s bucket list. Activities on the list include visiting restaurants and breweries, wildlife viewing opportunities, arts and culture attractions, showing your Ram pride, music events, cycling opportunities and outdoor recreation options among others.

Mountain Whitewater was featured under option 14: “Paddleboard on Horsteooth Reservoir” for our guided paddleboard trips and paddleboard rentals. While whitewater rafting is still our core business, paddleboarding (also know as Standup Paddleboarding or SUP) has become a popular activity for the business as well. Paddleoarding is fun, great for fitness and provides opportunity to explore our waterways. The Cache La Poudre River also provides paddleboarding opportunities for the more the adventurous paddler. Also try our relaxing paddleboard yoga classes for another unique paddleboard activity.

Item number 47, “Rafting the Cache La Poudre River in June,” is another bucket list item that can be checked-off at Mountain Whitewater. This list item also includes a photo of one of our rafts navigating the river at Pine View Falls. Whether it by through our whitewater rafting adventures or our paddleboard offerings, we are quite happy to help folks check a couple of items off of there NOCO bucket list. Thanks to our friends at Fort Collins Magazine for mentioning our business in this entertaining and informative article.

2015 Projected Flow for Poudre River Above Average

Big wave splash on the Cache la Poudre River with Mountain Whitewater DescentsAs of March 1, 2015 the Cache La Poudre River spring and summer flow is forecast to be at levels around 103% of average flows. This is according to the Colorado Water Supply Outlook Report issued by the US Department of Agriculture, Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS).

NRCS issues a monthly report from January to June every year that outlines snowpack levels, precipitation amounts, reservoir storage and stream flow forecasts for the different river basins in the State of Colorado. The Cache La Poudre River is a sub-basin of the larger South Platte River basin that covers most of northeast Colorado on the east side of the continental divide. Overall, the South Platte basin has seen 110% of median snowpack levels this past winter and has the highest on average stream flow forecasts for 2015 for each of its sub-basins (Cache La Poudre, Big Thompson, Boulder-St. Vrain, Clear Creek and Upper South Platte) compared to other basins in the State.

The streamflow forecast for the Cache La Poudre River comes as great news for recreation, as average to high snowpack levels translate to better water conditions. While there is still time for variations in the snowpack levels and ultimately spring and summer streamflows, above average numbers in March usually lead to very exciting peak levels in June and sustained water levels throughout the summer season. Another bit of good news from the report is that reservoir storage levels in the Cache La Poudre basin are also near or above average as well.

“We are very excited to see streamflow forecast near or above 100% of average for the Poudre River. Great water conditions are exciting for our staff and provide for an unforgettable rafting experience for our guests” says Ben Costello, Director of Fun for Mountain Whitewater Descents.

High-water view of Pine View Falls on the Cache La Poudre River near Fort Collins, CO“We are looking forward to another fantastic season and cannot wait to start taking our guests down this very special river.”

Whitewater rafting on Colorado’s only “Wild & Scenic River” is always a unique and memorable experience, but good water conditions make things even better. If a fast paced trip is what you seek, be sure to book your 2015 rafting trip in May or June for the most exciting water conditions. As long as we continue to see average snow fall amount in March and April (typically the best months for snow in Colorado), conditions for rafting on the Cache La Poudre River will be fantastic for the entire 2015 river season.

Follow this link to the Basin Outlook Report to read the entire report for yourself or to check on forecast conditions around the rest of our beautiful state.

Mountain Whitewater Descents Finds Success with New Booking Engine

For the summer 2014 whitewater rafting season, Mountain Whitewater Descents was in need of finding a new reservation platform. Our old system worked, but was outdated, not intuitive for users and did not provide the kind of support that we would like. There are a multitude of different reservation software platforms available for tour operators today, but not all work in a way that is convenient for both guests and staff. Our goal was to find a system that allowed our guests to book in an easier, more streamlined way that looked professional and kept feel or our website. After researching different platforms, we found Rezdy and could not be happier.

Booking your adventure on our website is now a breeze. There are less steps to go through for guests, whether booking online or over the phone with our professional staff, which means less time booking your experience and more time enjoying your vacation. Rezdy has also benefited the business by giving our staff more time to focus on providing great customer service that is expected by our guests because they spend less time clicking through screens in the booking software. Rezdy was easy to implement, is easy to use and provides very high quality support.

Thanks to Rezdy for building and maintaining such a useful booking tool. We are excited to provide a worry free way for our guests to book the experience of a lifetime. For more information check this link to our Rezdy case study.

Professional Office Staff at Mountain Whitewater Descents

Office staff member, Lindsey, waits happily for guest check-in.

River Love

IMG_4899The song of the river ends not at her banks, but in the hearts of those who have loved her. – Buffalo Joe

There is no rushing a river. When you go there, you go at the pace of the water and that pace ties you into a flow that is older than life on this planet. Acceptance of that pace, even for a day, changes us, reminds us of other rhythms beyond the sound of our own heartbeats. – Jeff Rennicke, River Days: Travels on Western Rivers

Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known.
- A. A. Milne, Pooh’s Little Instruction Book


“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson



JLD_4304“Have you also learned that secret from the river; that there is no such thing as time?” That the river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the current, in the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere and that the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past nor the shadow of the future.”
Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

“the joy of life comes from our encountrers with new experiences…”

IMG_4805“Make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future.

The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty.”

-Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

Why we paddle…

IMG_4085There is something you get out of paddling that you can’t get in any other sport. It’s finding the happy balance with an always changing force of nature, and it makes you feel very small yet powerful at the same time.” Shannon Caroll