Thanks to 4 Corners Whitewater I had the opportunity to run the middle/upper Animas river. Ryan was a great guide. I didn't take a camera or phone so no pics I'm afraid.
Although it is a day trip I reported the day prior for instruction and swim test. The training is the same style video other rafting companies use. The swim test is a brief trip on the Animas through Durango. From 4 Corners we traveled a bit north to the put-in. Once in the boats we practiced executing commands from our guides. At Santa Rita Park we pulled over and walked upstream along the path to start our swim test through the last water feature at the park. I could have stayed a while to watch kayakers and SUP boards ride the wave.
After returning to our raft we headed downstream once again. At the bottom end of the park there was a fire truck and ambulance. The next day we learned a 56 year old man had a heart attack and died after his raft flipped in the rapids we had just swam.
The next morning we took the Durango/Silverton train, boarding at Rockwood, to Needleton and rafted down to Tacoma, barely making the train the return to Durango.
This video gives a taste of the Class V Broken Bridge rapid, but imagine the water much higher. Water levels were at the limit of paddling. We swam through Durango at 4,100 CFS, but it was almost 5,300 CFS the next day. Not sure what the flows were upstream, but she was up and moving.
We stopped 3/4 mile above Broken Bridge to scout the rapid. The left side was our line and we ran it one raft at a time. Once the last raft was through we peeled out for a long dose of Class IV rapids.
This was the most intense, big-rapid rafting trip I've done. I would like to have run the upper as well, but the water was just too high. You better be in decent shape to do this run because it will be work.