Mike Nelson's Colorado -- Rafting The Poudre

Rocky Mountain Adventures Takes Visitors On A Ride Through The Canyon

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 didn’t ring. People saw the news, they were discouraged, they didn’t 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.

"I’ve been waiting since December," said Jacob, who was going on rafting on a Wednesday in July.

"Coming down here to do whitewater rafting. We’ve 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 we’ve always wanted to do," said Erica Gosselin of Florida.

"What we’re seeing today is a rejuvenated interest in the river," said Barwick. "Things are getting better. It’s encouraging, our spirits are up. We’re 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 they’re expecting it, it’s something cool," said Barwick. "It’s a story they get to tell people, and it’s Mother Nature’s way of cleansing herself."

"You kind of expect that crystal clear mountain water and it’s really dark right now, but it’s still a lot of fun. I’m glad we didn’t cancel," said Erica Gosselin.

Check out Rocky Mountain Adventures online and see more great things to do in Poudre Canyon and Red Feather Lakes.

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