Whitewater Rafting Season Starts with Snow

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PENN FOREST TOWNSHIP -- Despite the cold weather and snow we had Tuesday, a well-known recreation in Carbon County is kicking off its season.

Whitewater rafting season has started, and the first trips down the river promise to be rather cold, but Pocono Whitewater workers say they could be some of the best of the season.

Pocono Whitewater workers had to plow their parking lot Wednesday. Snow covered their offices off Route 903 near Jim Thorpe

But despite all of the white stuff, they say the whitewater rafting season has started.

"The river's opened up, so when we see all this snow, we see water levels rising, so we kind of get excited," said Pocono Whitewater owner Doug Fogal.

The first trip down the Lehigh will be a cold one, once they brush the snow off the rafts. A group of six guys are scheduled to take to the river.

"We call them the icebreakers, that's usually the first party. They want to be the first ones down. They're into that," said Fogal.

One of the problems with whitewater rafting this time of year is just getting to the river. You can't get down one of Pocono Whitewater's main access roads to the Lehigh.

In Jim Thorpe, workers at Blue Mountain Sports & Wear say they're excited to be thinking spring, too, but they were surprised to hear rafting season is now open.

"It is still really cold out and if they're in the water, it's going to be really cold. There could be some frozen spots, you just got to be really careful," said Nicole Larthey.

Pocono Whitewater says they require wetsuits in cold conditions, and anyone willing to brave the early season chill is in for possibly one of the best rides of the season.

"Maybe as much as an hour depending on those levels so it is a little bit of a quicker trip, but the higher the water, the better the ride," said Fogal.

Again the first scheduled trip will take to the Lehigh Thursday. There are also more than 20 reservations already for this weekend.

Pocono Whitewater is open almost daily now, with the exception of Easter Sunday.

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