Thomas Wolfe loves rivers.
He couldnt stop grinning as he readied his small rafting shop to open today in Dolores last week.
This is a dream come true for me, Wolfe said.
Wolfe, along with co-founder Janneli F. Miller, recently opened the doors of their rafting company, Soft Adventures Rafting.
I just love taking people down the river, Wolfe said.
Wolfe has been a professional river guide for nearly 25 years and has logged over 60,000 river miles as a professional guide. He has guided trips down numerous rivers, including over 200 trips down the Grand Canyon and trips down rivers in the jungles of Costa Rica.
Now, he has set his sights on the Dolores, something Miller said is long overdue.
There is this beautiful river right here and if you want to go on a river, you have to drive to Moab or Durango, Miller said.
Mostly, if a casual kayaker or rafter wants to get on the river in Dolores and dont own their own gear, they have to go elsewhere.
That is no longer the case with the opening of Soft Adventures Rafting. Wolfe and Miller offer guided raft trips down the Upper Dolores. They also will offer inflatable kayak trips and lessons and inner tube rentals when the river slows down.
Ive taken people down the river here recently that have lived in Dolores their whole lives and never been on the river, Wolfe said.
All rentals and guided trips include a shuttle service, helmets (if needed), life jackets, wet suits and river boots (if needed).
With the river running at 1,300 cfs last week, the rafting season for the Upper Dolores is in full swing. It is difficult to tell how long the snowmelt-fed runoff for the Upper Dolores will last, but Wolfe is ready.
You can still take an inflatable kayak down the river at 200 cfs, he said.
The river maintains raftable flows, sometimes into July and other times just into June. This year may be a shorter rafting season, but it is difficult to tell.
Wolfe is excited about turning people on to the beauty of river rafting.
Its so beautiful up there. You see bald eagles, pine trees, river otters and all kinds of water fowl, he said. I just want to turn people on to the outdoors and the river. Its a passion for me.
Rafting trips start at $25 for an adult for the shorter Town Run and $55 for an adult for a half-day trip. Wolfe said most people will start near Line Camp for the half-day trip. An inner tube rental will cost about $15 when the river slows down later this summer and will include a shuttle ride, Wolfe said.
All the equipment is state-of-the art and new.
We want people to be safe, Wolfe said.
Wolfe added that the company will cater to families as well and there is no age limit, children just have to be 30 pounds. For the more adventurous, Wolfe said he can take boaters higher up the Dolores or plan overnight trips.
I just love getting people on the river. They forget about the bills they have to pay or that phone call they have to make. You are just in the moment. It brings you back to the simple things in life, he said.
But what is in the name Soft Adventures Rafting?
Wolfe said the name comes from the experience he wants to offer customers.
It means not extreme. It means you are comfortable and have a good time, he said.
Wolfe has been all over the world on different rivers as a professional guide. When asked what his favorite river was, he just smiles.
Its whatever river I am on, he said.
For more information, visit Soft Adventures Rafting at 621 Railroad Ave., Dolores, or call 970-882-RAFT or visit www.softadventuresrafting.com.