Whitewater rafting is big & fun right now… but just how big is BIG?

Long time Barker-Ewing reservationist and Ewing family friend Kathy Needham writes a limerick about early season whitewater rafting on the Snake River in Jackson Hole and how we sometimes gauge just how big BIG is gonna be! In honor of Heather Ewing… very clever Kathy! For those unfamiliar with the area, Glory is a run at the top of the Teton mountain pass, and people are still skiing it!

To know when the flow hits its peak
There’s no need to gauge the creek
Look high to the cliff bands of Glory
Where snow in the bowl tells the story
Judge high to find low
And that which you seek

Last week one sunny morning, the flow in the Snake River at the Alpine, Wyoming gauging station was 17,300 cubic feet per second (cfs), but HOW MUCH WATER IS THAT? Here’s a quick calculation to give you an idea: At a flow rate of 17,300 cfs, the river is moving 129,404 gallons of water each second at a weight of 540 tons (1 cubic foot = 7.48 gallons; 1 gallon of h20 = 8.34 pounds; 540 tons = 1,079,229 pounds of water). That’s 11,180,505,600 gallons of water per day!!!

With tons of snow left in the mountains, there is a ton of water flowing through the Snake River Canyon right now… so big is BIG, and fun is FUN!