My husband and I joined ours friends, Dave and Sharon for a kayaking adventure with Boulder City River Riders October 9, 2012. Les, the owner, picked us up in Las Vegas promptly at 7:00 am and we headed toward the Hoover Dam. We were very relieved not to have to deal with the traffic and getting there in time as we first had to rendevous with our guide, LeeAnn and a National Park Service Ranger who had to check our ID's. Lots of things have changed since 9/11.
Once we were escorted into the area below Hoover Dam we loaded our food and water, launched our kayaks, got helpful instruction from LeeAnn, and were off! We hadn't paddled 5 minutes before we made our first stop. We hiked to the mouth of a sauna cave and slowly entered into eventual blackness. It must have been 120 degrees! What a way to start the day! A few miles later we stopped again and hiked up to a natural hot spring for a hot tube soak. It was wonderful.
Dave and Sharon had been kayaking over 40 years. My husband and I, on the other hand, had only been kayaking about 4 weeks. Dave and Sharon having done a number of guided tours, felt this was the best they had ever been on. We found LeeAnn, our guide, to be skilled, knowledgeable, and a lot of fun. You burn a lot of calories paddling 12 miles and River Riders supplied us with energy snacks, a terrific lunch, and plenty of water to keep us hydrated.
The day was sunny and warm with a breeze,pretty stiff at times, blowing right in our face. We had read reviews of paddling this stretch of the Colorado and they warned that it could be a challenge if the river was low or if there was a head wind. Turns out we had both of these challenges to contend with. Fortunately, we also had LeeAnn. After our lunch stop I found myself having a hard time keeping up. Leeann realized I was struggling and decided to tie my kayak to the end of hers. I never stopped paddling, but the reassurance of being near LeeAnn made the remainder of our trip even more enjoyable.
We paddled nearly 12 miles, taking about 7 hours, with several stops along the way. We would wear water shoes with closed toes if we were to do this again. Sandals and gravel don't play well together. We also took disposable cameras, though our digitals would have been safe and a more flexible option.
Would we do this trip again? Absolutely!! Was it "worth it"? Completely!! Do you really need a guide? We think so. It's a big river and the stone walls on either side seemed to be hundreds of feet high, beautiful and breath-taking, but reassuring to have a guide within eye shot. Our group's ages ranged from 60-65 and our only physical preparation for this was daily walking. We are so glad we did this and hope we get the chance to do it, or something like it, again soon. Les and his people at Boulder City River Riders are first class. A very memorable trip for all of us. We even asked Les to make us River Rider t-shirts and "guide-shirts" as keep sakes. He hadn't offered these options in the past but may, based on our enthusiastic requests, in the future.
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