| Week of October 5-12, 1995|
Skiing Colorado in January
Rafting Virginia's wild and woolly whitewater
Q: Where in the Va./WVa. area are the best places for whitewater rafting, and what is the best time to go?
Virginia Beach, VA
A: Two of the best rivers in this area for whitewater rafting are the New and Gauley Rivers in south-central West Virginia. Applachian Wildwaters runs half-, full-, and multi-day trips on these Class IV and V rivers from March through October and November, depending on the river. Opt for either the Upper or Lower Gauley if you're planning a fall trip; there are scheduled dam releases for six weekends--beginning after Labor Day and running through October 15, so the water level is extremely predictable and especially good for rafting during this time. If you're looking for warmer waters, try the New River in July and August, although according to Applachian Wildwaters, the rapids are best in the spring. A full day on the New River will run you $92 per person on Saturdays and $72 all other days, including breakfast and lunch. For a full day on the Lower Gauley, you'll pay between $67 and $87 per person, depending on the day of the week; a day on the Upper Gauley will cost you between $82 and $102. No previous rafting experience is needed to run the New or Lower Gauley, but you will need to have rafted Class V rapids before if you want to try the world class, V-plus whitewater of the Upper Gauley. Appalachian Wildwaters operates a river outpost just off U.S. 19 in Fayetteville, West Virginia. For more detailed trip information and rates, contact them at 800-624-8060.