This weekend, the US National Whitewater Center opened the season for whitewater rafting in unison with the Green River Revival festival, with all kinds of activities around the center in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.
But who cares! I just couldn’t wait to get on a raft. Even if the water WAS only about 50 degrees that morning.
Fortunately our friend Suzi told us about Diver Supply Charlotte, a store just off of Exit 7 from I-77, which was selling full-length wetsuits at really low prices. That didn’t do much for the first splash of (or dunk into) frigid water of the morning, but once that water got good ‘n trapped in the wetsuit and body heat warmed it up, the rest of the time on (or out of) the raft was much more comfortable. If you’re in Charlotte, GO BUY A WETSUIT and your rafting experiences in early Spring and late Fall will be a lot more fun.
The rapids were just as much fun as I remembered, with a few new tweaks to the channels this year to add some extra excitement. And even better, we got to go out on the rapids with one of our favorite raft guides, Rufio.
The center was even more packed than I imagined, but bizarrely (in my mind at least) there were not very many people actually rafting. In fact, in our first (11:00) run, there were only two rafts going — ours, and one made up of Raft Guide students on their first day. (And yes, we were probably more skilled than they were.) I guess the cold water really scared a lot of potential rafters away, though the live music and other Green River Revival activities apparently were quite the draw.
Speaking of draws at the USNWC: Nala was the belle of the ball! We had a large group of friends there who weren’t rafting, so they took turns taking care of our little princess so she could enjoy some outdoors time also. Kids were running up left and right to pet the adorable little puppy — and her big brother Puck got so anxious and defensive that he had to be taken home very early so Nala and the rest of the gang could relax and enjoy themselves.
We took three friends out for their first use of their new AllSport Season Pass. Yes, our recruiting efforts continue! And on Sunday I found out two more friends purchased their AllSport passes online! The cult is growing — or perhaps, the cult is replenishing itself, since I don’t know for sure that all of our rafting buddies from last year are going to renew their annual membership.