While there’s nothing funny about 3 million gallons of toxic mine waste spilling into your local waterway, late night comedy host Conan O’Brien has found a way to profit from the whole ordeal, an enterprise he’s calling “The Colorado Natural Disaster Ultimate River Rapids Extreme Kayaking Adrenaladveture Tours, LLC.” The company promises to make whitewater kayaking even more extreme by paddling on “WATER…IS LITERALLY…TRYING TO…KILL YOU.”

Sadly, this joke isn’t entirely devoid of truth. In the days after the spill, we posted a story about a group of local paddlers who dropped into the committing Class V Baker’s Box section of the Animas River near Durango, Colo., only to find the river had turned the color of Tang. It took authorities over 24 hours to shut down the river to recreation, and several groups paddlers were on the water when the plume of orange waste from abandoned Gold King Mine arrived.

The Animas reopened on Friday.

A kayaker paddles the Baker's Box section of Colorado's Animas River the day of the Gold King Mine disaster. Photo Andy Hobson

A kayaker paddles the Baker’s Box section of Colorado’s Animas River the day after the Gold King Mine disaster. Photo Andy Hobson. Read More.

More on the Gold King Mine Spill

One Last Glimpse: A Kayaker Reflects on a River Turned Orange

Paddlers React to Mine Spill in the Animas River