Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Harpers Ferry Adventure Center, Purcellville, VA

Are you looking for something that provides outdoor excitement and fun? Well, look no further than the Harpers Ferry Adventure Center. Located in Purcellville, VA, this company’s white water rafting trip was wonderful from start to finish. Upon arrival, the first thing that I noticed was how well the grounds were maintained. The ticket office was bright and well stocked, the signage was very clearly labeled, and they even had a building where you could leave your keys for safekeeping while on the trip. Further, they had all of their pavilions well marked for guests to find their place at the tubing and rafting stations.

In terms of customer service, each person was friendlier than the next. The girl who checked us in at the front desk was very kind, and explained what we needed to do and where to go. Then when we made it to the tubing area, we were greeted by friendly and fun staff members who helped us get our life vests and paddles. Once we were suited up, we took a bus from their main location directly to our insertion point on the Shenandoah.  As we rode on the bus, they explained all of the different terminology and procedures that we needed to follow. They also told us some of the history of the town as we passed through, using humor to help everyone enjoy the ride. While talking to the guides, they also shared that their company prides themselves on making these trips accessible to everyone. They have done trips with the “Wounded Warriors”, and have even done trips for people living with quadriplegia. They will find a way to make sure that everyone who wants to be outside and on a raft can do so!

Once in the water, our guide continued to give us friendly tips and made sure that everyone was safe and having fun.  All of the rapids that we encountered ranged from class 1 to class 3 (out of 5 classes). It was evident by the instruction that the guides knew the river very well, as they calmly navigated us through the rapids with three very simple and easy to remember commands. When we were not in the rapids, they allowed us to get out of the rafts and swim in the water. The water levels range from about 2-10 feet deep depending on the season (based on rainfall), and made for an enjoyable trip. We also stopped at a point where we could swim a rapid slide (for those interested), as well as to rehydrate from the cooler that they brought. The rafts were spacious, and they gave us tips on how to wedge our feet so that we would not fall out of our boats. Additionally, I was impressed with the level of historical knowledge that our guides had. As we rode through different parts of the 6-mile raft ride, the guides told us about specific landmarks and the history behind them, such as a collapsed bridge, a large rock face that used to have an advertisement, and the history of the town. They also told us when we split off out of the Shenandoah and went into the Potomac River.  

We finally finished our trip about 3 hours after we got out of the water. HFAC shared that they are the only company that has its own private extraction site at the water, which was greatly appreciated after a long day in the sun. Waiting for us was a large military-type diesel truck (think rugged hayride) that drove us back up to the main grounds for the Harpers Ferry Adventure Center. When we got back, I was excited to see that they had a separate bath house building that was incredibly clean and spacious. They had bathrooms, showers, and dressing stalls to clean off in a relaxing environment.

This trip was truly perfect for families and individuals who are looking for a great outdoor experience with friendly people. In addition to white water rafting, they also have tubing, off-road Segways, zip lining, a ropes course, camping (in cabins as well as riverside camp sites), and more. They provide a wide array of packages as well if you want to do multiple activities through their company. The Harpers Ferry Adventure Center really knows how to provide a wide variety of options for fun, and we will definitely be coming back here again in the future!

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