The Colorado River is rolling. According to the Colorado River Outfitters Association, it's currently flowing at over double its normal level. If a float trip is in your near future, make safety the priority.

I made a trip over to Red Rocks this weekend to take in Big Head Todd & The Monsters. Needless to say, it was amazing!  As I made the drive on I-70 I noticed the high water levels in the river. As it constricts through Glenwood Canyon it became a raging torrent! Further down I spotted several rafts rolling downstream. I've done the raft trip on the Arkansas River through Royal Gorge. That was fun! I've yet to float the Colorado.

Ray Michaels

Being from Missouri, I've floated my share of rivers. The Current, Jack's Fork, The James River, Sac River, Pomme de Terre, Bryant Creek, and the Niangua are a few I've rolled a canoe along, usually with a fishing rod or two. Of course, none of these is the size, or pack the punch, like the Colorado.

I do know that when the local experts issue a warning it needs to be heeded. A river is a tricky thing. Even a stretch you've floated several times can become different and dangerous. A sudden thunderstorm upstream can turn a quiet river into a raging torrent. Or in the case of the Colorado, this winter's significant snowfall and warming weather have sent snowmelt into the system and it's overflowing its banks.

Danger lurks below and above the waterline. Rocks that are normally on dry land are now in play. Tree limbs that were once high above the water are now in your face. There are floating sticks, logs and debris rolling downstream too.

Ray Michaels

Remember too to not stand up. Wear a helmet and always keep on your life jacket on. Keep the alcohol consumption to a minimum. Besides, a beer is better relaxing on the bank than while paddling down the river. Also, only tackle a portion of the river that your skills match. There are no "do-overs" on the river. When you hit a dangerous stretch there's usually no turning back.


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