Final whitewater rafting preps underway on the Hooch

Final whitewater rafting preps underway on the Hooch

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - If the thought of flipping out of a raft into the Chattahoochee River is keeping you from experiencing Columbus' whitewater rafting course... just ask raft guide trainee Hunter Price. He flipped head first into the Hooch during training Monday.

"Anybody who hasn't done it, you know, it's going to be a little panic. Once you fall out, it's easy going," said Price.

Hunter says everyone needs to understand the water is stronger than you. If you fight it, it's just going to make it tougher for you.

Hunter suggests to just sit back and relax and you'll eventually float out into the river just like he did.

And if things don't go as planned, the guides have a remedy for that too.

"We paddle to them if they're out in the water. We grab their life jackets and pull them to the boat. If they're too far away, we have a throw rope and we'll throw it out to them and pull them in," said Hunter.

Approximately 20 guide trainees from Whitewater Express - the attraction's only outfitter - are spending this week running the river. Most are men except for the only woman trainee Lindsey Wright.

"I say if I'm doing it, it they can do it," explained Wright.

And she's not the only one daring to be different. Ed James, Sr. is 69 years old, the oldest trainee by far.

"It's a thrill and you see young people that are scared to death when they get on and they say, let's go back and do it again," recalled James.

Safety should always be top of mind... the river levels will change throughout the day.

"The river goes up and where you are at one point, may not be there when the river goes up…so, you want to be cautious of that."

An alarm system is also being put in this week to signal rafters when that change happens. When it does, just move to higher ground.

The fun starts at 10 a.m. Saturday morning on the river behind the Eagle and Phenix Lofts. Prices to ride the rafts vary from $32.50 for low water rafting and $48.50 for high water rafting.

You can call 1-800-676-7238 to purchase tickets in advance. The rafting course will close around 5:30 p.m. Saturday evening.

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