Rafting season enhanced by rain

Miriam Arghandiwal

After a winter of incessant rain, rafting centers in Sacramento are eager to begin summer rafting sessions.

“The extra snow and water from the mountains this year will send plenty of water down to the river,” said Doug Trent, adventure specialist at Peak Adventures. “We’re going to have an awesome season.”

Peak Adventures’ summer season began May 24, and offers discounted prices to students for their rafting trips. Peak Adventures’ rafting trip prices range from $65 to $85. Most of Peak Adventures’ rafting trips go through the south fork of the American River.

Peak Adventures’ hours of operation will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., but Trent encourages rafters to come as early as possible.

“The duration of the trip takes up most of the day, we will leave in the morning and come back around 6 or 7 p.m. at night,” Trent said.

Peak Adventures is different from other rafting services in the Sacramento area because it offers guides to accompany rafters throughout their experience.

Rafts, life vests and paddles will be provided to all customers but Trent does recommend that rafters come dressed appropriately.

Rafters should come prepared in swim clothes and to have an extra set of clothes on hand for when the trip is over, he said.

Trent said flip-flops are not permitted while rafting; rafters should wear shoes that slide off their feet easily and that they will not mind getting wet.Trent also advised rafters to come prepared for the sun.

“They’re going to be out there all day, so they need to make sure they have sunscreen. Sunglasses are usually a good idea too as well as some sort of hat to cover their head,” Trent said.

A rafting trip with Peak Adventures is normally a safe experience unless rafters act foolishly, Trent said.

“Rafters never have a problem if they don’t do stupid stuff. Heavy drinking rafters have caused problems on occasions and caused the rafts to halt,” Trent said.

At River Rat Raft Rentals, located on Pennsylvania Avenue in Fair Oaks, employees try to avoid rafting disasters by following the river rules and banning alcohol in the rafts during holiday weekends, said Jordan Graham, manager at River Rat Raft Rentals.

“The county forbids drinking on Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day; that’s usually when customers tend to get crazy,” Graham said.

River Rat Raft Rentals provides rafts ranging in size that fit groups of four to 12 people. Groups of four cost $49 per raft, groups of six cost $72 per raft, groups of 10 cost $132 per raft and groups of 12 cost $144 per raft.Reservations can be made beforehand, but are only kept until 11 a.m.

“If the rafters aren’t there by 11 a.m. then we can’t guarantee them a raft, in fact we can’t even guarantee they’ll be able to go rafting that day,” Graham said.

River Rat Raft Rentals’ operating hours are from 10 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday and Sunday. Each rafting trip lasts about three hours and the company likes to see all scheduled rafts take off before 11 a.m., Graham said.

Afterward, there is a shuttle available for rafters so that they can be taken back up to their starting point, for $4 per person.

Graham said a credit card and driver’s license are needed as a deposit in order to rent a raft from River Rat Raft Rentals.

The rafting trips are self-guided but a brief set of instructions are given at the beginning before rafters take off. Life jackets are also given and are required to be on the raft but are not required to be worn by anyone who is 13 years old and older.

American River Raft Rental, located on South Bridge Street in Gold River, provides these commodities as well and like River Rat Raft Rentals, only offers a self-guided rafting experience.

Customer services representative Sean Price said guides were not necessary for rafters because the river is fairly calm.

Price said their website www.raftrentals.com, offers a daily outlook on river conditions so that rafters prioritize which day they would like to raft.

American River Raft Rental begins distributing rafts at 9 a.m. and pulls them all back out at 6 p.m. Rafts that hold two to four people cost $54, four to six people cost $80, six to 10 people cost $144 and 10 to 12 people cost $156.

Although the rainy season has put a halt on American River Raft Rental’s business, Price said he expects business to pick back up.

“We’ve been closed three days now because of the rainy weather but once summer comes and the weather gets better, we’ll be good. June, July and August are our busy months. There’s even usually a few weekends that we’ve rented all 300 of our rafts out,” Price said.

Miriam Arghandiwal can be reached at [email protected]