Roughly two hours southeast of Denver, you’ll find Buena Vista, or BV, as the locals call it. For those adrenaline junkies in search of long and sustained hard whitewater rafting, it doesn’t get much better. Spanish for “good view,” this small town and pristine stretch of white water lives up to its name. Nestled in the upper Arkansas River Valley, Buena Vista is shadowed to the west by the Collegiate Peaks of the Sawatch Range, a group of large mountains including 10 of Colorado’s 53 14ers.
Even though Buena Vista offers incredible scenery and world-class white water, the true and often overlooked gem of the town is the unique raft guide community that inhabits it. This group returns every season to sleep in vans, overhauled buses, and tents, working long hours for little pay, just to be able to run this special section of water. They may be in need of a proper shower, and their living quarters definitely don’t live up to Mom’s standards, but they are some of the most stoked, welcoming people you’ll ever meet.
A personal, portable, anything but soft-sided cooler that can easily transport at least 18 icy cans to your next adventure.