Tourism Tuesday: white water rafting

A group of rafters takes on the Menominee River’s Piers Gorge.

With hundreds of miles of Great Lakes shoreline and acres of inland lakes, there is plenty of water to enjoy in the Upper Peninsula. But taking a little water and adding a bit of adventure is the focus of the July 24th installment of Tourism Tuesday.

It’s Class IV white water rafting…just outside of iron mountain in Vulcan, Michigan, courtesy of Northwoods Adventures.

The journey along the Menominee River starts with a quick bus ride from the outfitter’s storefront in Vulcan to the launch site.  After some serious safety instructions, rafters are able to enjoy the calm waters of the river, as they float.  In fact, rafters will literally float, with Class V Personal Floatation Devices, for a short time in the river.  The experience provides a relaxing experience for the rafters prior to the adventure of the rapids.

Janet Last and Jeff Costigan, residents of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, took on Piers Gorge.  They were excited to be able to try the activity fairly close to home.  Janet and Jeff were on a mid-day trip on a recent Sunday, one of several daily trips available.  Two groups, with a total of eight rafters, stopped at an island park where the guides provided a picnic lunch of   sandwiches, fruit, brownies and lemonade.

And then, it was on to adventure! The Wisconsin couple, after the first trip through Piers Gorge on the Menominee River, was all smiles.  They were breathless and beaming.  They were wet to the bone and anxious to try the rapids again.  Each group tows a second raft to allow them to take on the rapids, walk back to a ‘drop off site’ for the second raft and then do the rapids again.

You don’t have to be an expert swimmer or an adrenaline junkie to enjoy this adventure, but it’s also not for the extreme scaredy cat: you will get wet: very wet.
The guides on Janet‘s trip, from Costa Rico, Brazil and California, were gregarious and enthusiastic. The trio made the guests feel welcome, confident and comfortable with the rafting adventure.  It was as much of a self-confidence building “Look What I Can Do” event as much as it was a “Thing to do on a Weekend.“   From the catered lunch to the on the water paddle ‘high-fives’ and helping the guides load the rafts onto trailers at the end of the run, rafters seemed to enjoy themselves.

Northwoods Adventures was established in 2010 and is 100% guide owned and operated. The company’s whitewater rafting trips vary in duration, with multiple trips available daily May through October, for our 2012 season.

Three tips to make the trip more enjoyable: relax, follow all instructions, and
preserve your memories by rent a helmet cam and purchasing the photo CD at the end of the trip:  you’ll be able to re-live the trip over and over and over!

For more information on this rafting adventure, visit Northwoods Adventures at

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