Day two was all about the kayaking. The Arkansas River flows through the valley that encompasses Salida and Buena Vista and draws many people to the area. You see many outfitters along the highways but we went with Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center. We had a choice of going on a raft or in kayaks. The kayaks sounded more fun and challenging and water levels were so low that rafters were spending a lot of time dragging the rafts. An easy choice. The kayaks aren’t the normal kinds – they’re inflatables called “duckies”. These are wider and more stable though apparently less maneuverable. I usually struggled to keep it going in a particular direction so I think I would have been okay with even less maneuverability.
We did a full-day guided trip through the lower Brown’s Canyon area, putting in at Hecla Junction, stopping for lunch at Big Bend, and taking out in downtown Salida. Nobody tipped over though I came real close a couple times. In “Slidell’s Suckhole” my duckie got turned backwards, wedged in some rocks, and submerged under a couple feet of water. I was a bit concerned for a couple seconds until I saw the situation was stable and I wasn’t going further under water. One of the guides helped me get out of the duckie and onto the shore, pulled the duckie out and put it back in downstream.
Any sandy area along the river sparkled with flecks of gold. It was a very fun, and very tiring day, and I’ll gladly do it again next year.