A week ago a group of Buffalo Bill Center of the West interns and employees decided that we would go on a whitewater rafting trip.
At first I was very uneasy about the whole thing as I’ve always had a fear of being in a small boat moving at fast speeds. I felt that being that close to the water, I could easily fall out and get left behind. This wasn’t the first time that people have tried to get me to go rafting, as I had a friend organize a rafting trip for his twenty-first birthday. I was luckily saved from going—I had to work that day.
However, when I came to Cody, Wyoming, everyone told me I would have to try rafting. They assured me that my time here would be incomplete if I did not give it a try.
When asking around as to what would be the best group to go with, many recommended River Runners. River Runners was the first river rafting company in Cody, Wyoming, (originally called the Shoshone River Float). It was established in 1967 by Buffalo Bill’s great-grandson Kit Cody, who also owned other businesses and was an active member of the community.
River Runners offers two different trips, Family Whitewater Rafting and Northfork Whitewater Adventure. The Family Whitewater Rafting takes you down the Shoshone River, and is about two hours; while the Northfork Whitewater Adventure is a half-day trip that includes lunch. Our group chose the family option as some of those newer to rafting, like me, needed a shorter and easier trip. And, while the family trip is shorter, you still get to experience a lot of really cool areas of the river. (See map below.)
I was really nervous when we started out. My anxiety increased when our guide, Robert, actually chose me as one of the paddlers for the boat. All I could think of was I am either going to fall out, or have a hard time keeping up with everyone, as I was the shortest in the group.
But once we got going, I realized that river rafting is extremely fun! You don’t have to constantly paddle, so most of the time you float along and are able to enjoy looking at nature or talking with your friends.
Our guide was also a native of Cody and told us about the town’s formation, the ecology of the area, and the best things to do in town. This was great for all of us rafting, since none of us are from Cody or Wyoming.
The river itself was higher than usual due to the increased amount of snow the area had received this past winter. This made it, in our guide’s opinion, the absolute best time to go rafting. It allowed us to not only encounter more of the river, but made it easier for him to completely soak us. Everyone was just dripping by the end of the trip.
Besides looking at nature and wild animals (someone in our group spotted a muskrat bobbing along), we encountered some rapids. As I mentioned before, I was completely convinced that I was going to be the one tumbling out and drifting along, but no one fell out. As our guide had told us, that as long as we followed directions there would be no accidents.
White water rafting was an incredible adventure and I recommend it to anyone—especially those visiting Cody. Not only do you get to experience nature and learn about Wyoming, but it is an amazing bonding experience as you are overcoming something together. Besides, think how awesome you will sound saying, “I’ve done that!”
This experience helped me get over my fears and I would totally do it again. The only advice I offer is to make sure you are prepared for how cold the water is and be sure to bring something warm to wear after.
For more information on River Runners, click here to go to their website.
For more on things to do here in Cody, check out the post 10 Best Things About July in Wyoming, by Lynn Rodgers, our chief financial officer.