Canyon Rafting Company floats down the Elk River all summer long
The adrenaline pumps through your body as you race down the cold Elk River rapids on what is sure to be one of the wildest rides of your life.
This is the kind of thrill seeking adventure Blair Craig experiences every day.
Craig and his wife Lynn Muller started Canyon Rafting Company in 1995 and became the first rafting company to brave the Elk River.
“We really love the sport of going down the river and hitting the white water,” Craig said. “It’s really fun to share that with people.”
In the last nearly 20 years, Canyon Rafting has grown into a 10-staff operation with nine boats sailing down the Elk daily.
And in the last 10 years, the rafting company has welcomed a furry friend that tags along on almost every trip.
Craig and Muller got their dog Kaz from Pets Life Salvation in Calgary and she quickly adopted their adventurous lifestyle.
“She’s a white water dog and comes out on all the trips,” Craig said. “It’s a natural thing to want to hit the waves. The dog loves it, she’ll get up front and lean into the waves. It’s a pretty cool thing to see.”
Although she’s fallen out of the boat and been in a boat that’s flipped over, she’s still eager to join in on Canyon Rafting’s daily adventures.
“She’s a legend,” rafting instructor Michelle Clifford.
Craig said Kaz averages about 100 trips a season.
The company starts off their season on the May long weekend and they typically raft into the first couple weeks of September, Craig said.
The guides start their training in early May.
“It’s like anything, if you practice you get really good,” Craig said. “We spend a lot of time training our guides and having them really know the river.”
The guides familiarize themselves with the area, and guests can expect a detailed history lesson during their tour.
From hoodos to what seems like an impossibly steep goat trail, the guides point out some of the geological hotspots along the Elk River.
“I really enjoy being on the water and knowing what’s around me,” rafting guide Michelle Clifford said.
“I very much enjoy meeting new people and finding out what they do and introducing them to this lifestyle that I have adopted.”
After working at a big rafting company in Ottawa, Ontario for 15 years, Clifford said she enjoys being involved in Canyon Rafting’s smaller company.
“Blair and Lynn put a lot more of their time and effort into making each trip unique and special in their own way,” she said. “We all go out and do our thing, have an awesome day and then go home.”
The trips typically last between seven and eight hours and entail not only exciting rapids but also cliff jumping and river floating.
“It’s a much more enjoyable experience to take your time… and take in all the things [the Elk River] has,” Craig said.
“People really have a fun time.”
For more information about Canyon Rafting, visit their website at www.canyonraft.com.