Mike Nelson's Colorado -- Rafting The Poudre
While the High Park Fire burned across the Poudre River, there are still many areas left untouched.
For small business owner Ryan Barwick, the High Park Fire meant money down the river and 40 people out of work.
"That first day, the speed at which the fire grew was astonishing," Barwick said. "My heart just sank."
Barwick owns Rocky Mountain Adventures, a company that takes people rafting, kayaking and fishing.
"What really hurt us was for the three weeks during the fire the phones didnt ring. People saw the news, they were discouraged, they didnt think about rafting anymore," Barwick said.
When the Poudre River reopened, there was a second problem. Devastating monsoonal rains blackened the river with ash and soot.
"It was just another challenge that we faced in a year of challenges," said Barwick.
But despite those challenges, the rafts are back on the water.
"Ive been waiting since December," said Jacob, who was going on rafting on a Wednesday in July.
"Coming down here to do whitewater rafting. Weve never done it before; we thought it would be something fun to do on our trip to Colorado," said Shawn Gosselin from Florida.
"This was a very important trip for the family and something weve always wanted to do," said Erica Gosselin of Florida.
"What were seeing today is a rejuvenated interest in the river," said Barwick. "Things are getting better. Its encouraging, our spirits are up. Were out on the river doing what we love to do."
Barwick said visitors understand that the river has an organic carbon look.
"People understand that, and as long as theyre expecting it, its something cool," said Barwick. "Its a story they get to tell people, and its Mother Natures way of cleansing herself."
"You kind of expect that crystal clear mountain water and its really dark right now, but its still a lot of fun. Im glad we didnt cancel," said Erica Gosselin.
Check out Rocky Mountain Adventures online and see more great things to do in Poudre Canyon and Red Feather Lakes.