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WHAT ABOUT YOUNG CHILDREN - IS THIS A FAMILY FRIENDLY ACTIVITY?
This is a VERY family friendly vacation. However, as there is always a chance of falling in, we recommend that children be at least 7 years old. If they have had swimming experience and their parents are comfortable bringing them, we will also take children as young as 5 years old, depending upon water level. If you have younger children please call us so that we can discuss your options with you. We don't want anyone to miss out on this wonderful family friendly vacation if we can possibly help.
WHAT MAKES THIS A GOOD VACATION FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES?
The family-friendly canyon: there are many sandy beaches along our section and we choose some of those on which to camp, so there is plenty of opportunity for children to enjoy making sand castles, playing horseshoes, etc. The family-friendly river: the rapids are fun but not scary and the water temperature during the summer is perfect for swimming. The family-friendly crew: our responsible guides truly enjoy interacting with children and will take every opportunity to entertain, educate and engage the kids in fun activities so that the adults can enjoy some quality time.
WHAT IF I HAVE CHILDREN UNDER 3 YEARS THAT CAN'T GO ON THE RAFT WITH ME?
No worries! We can provide a baby sitter for your youngsters so that you can enjoy the adventure with the rest of the family, or just the two of you! We do encourage you to bring the whole family if they are old enough because it is such a wonderful shared experience that creates life-long memories.
WHAT IF I'M NOT LOOKING FOR A "FAMILY ADVENTURE" EXPERIENCE?
Although we are great at catering to families, we also run many adults-only trips. In fact we are proud to be the exclusive provider of whitewater trips to guests of the adults-only Triple Creek Ranch Relais and Chateaux in Darby, Montana. We can not guarantee "no kids" on our regular trips, however we are sensitive to the preferences of all our guests when making seating arrangements on our rafts (keeping adults on a separate boat, if requested) whenever possible. For those who prefer their own company, we offer a "private boat" option for a custom price. On our day trips, you will have your own guide and boat for the day, while lunch will be with the rest of the group. On our three-day trips you will also be camping as a group (unless you choose the lodging option), however the remote canyon provides plenty of opportunity for alone time.
WHAT IF I CAN'T SWIM?
No problem, we can seat you in the most stable spot and we will show you how to position yourself in the water and back stroke with your arms if you do happen to fall in. Nobody actually swims in whitewater anyway that's why we have life jackets on at all times. So if you end up in the water you'll float through the short rapid and find yourself in a nice slow pool and before you know it you'll be back in the boat! That's why this is such a great family or senior travel activity.
WILL I FALL IN?
If you are in a raft it is highly unlikely you will fall in, especially if you are concerned about it. We will seat you towards the center of the boat where it is surprisingly stable and secure. In the heat of summer people often start jumping in to the deep pools of their own accord to cool off - including some who started off really nervous! Now if you choose to kayak, you must be prepared to fall out.
AS A SENIOR CITIZEN, I CAN'T GET AROUND TOO WELL THESE DAYS. CAN I STILL GO TO THIS VACATION SPOT?
Of course. Once you are in the raft you will not have to move around much and we will help you in and out of the boat. If you have a problem sitting for prolonged periods we have many interesting stops during which you can get out and move around.
IS IT LIKE THE RIVER WILD? - No!
HOW COLD IS THE WATER?
In the summer it is warm enough to jump in or to float along in the calm sections (about 72 degrees). In the Spring and Fall the water temperature is much colder; we recommend polar fleece clothing or wet suits at this time if you are concerned about the cold or plan to kayak.
I'VE RAFTED CLASS V's BEFORE, WILL IT BE TOO MELLOW?
Perhaps. If you would like more action than the rest of your group we recommend the inflatable kayak which makes every rapid twice as big and twice as challenging and spring water is always fun for everyone.
I'VE NEVER RAFTED BEFORE, WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT?
Our trip is ideal for the uninitiated with many short fun rapids each followed by relatively slow short pools making for a very safe river. You will be eased into the rapids with about 3 miles of small rapids before getting into the big ones like Pine Creek. By then nearly all the nerves are gone.
WHAT DOES "CLASS III RAPIDS" MEAN?
Rapids are classified on a scale of 1 - 6. The scale relates to level of danger, not level of fun. We feel Class III rapids are the safest way to maximize the fun factor.
HOW DO I TAKE SHOWERS WHEN I'M CAMPING?
Most people swim a lot during the day in the (clean) river and so they don't worry about bathing, but if you would like to bathe we can show you how to bathe in the great outdoors with a bucket! An adventure in itself!
IS THERE A ROAD ALL ALONG THE RIVER?
Yes, the boundary of the largest Wilderness area in the lower 48 states follows the river on the south bank much of the way, and there is a dead-end, mostly unpaved, primitive road that follows the river on the north side. We end our river trip where this road terminates and use it to get back to civilization. The down side is that there will be some river-oriented traffic during the day. The up side is that 1) it does not detract from the remote experience at all 2) it allows us to be able to get back out after 3 days without having to charge for costly back-country flights or jet-backs 3) we can transport all the camp gear to camp in our support vehicle which frees up the boats for more fun and room for passengers and allows guests to bring some cool gear that wouldn't otherwise fit, such as bag pipes, guitars, etc. 4) it provides for emergency access either in or out of the river corridor.
WHY ARE YOUR 3-DAY TRIPS SO MUCH CHEAPER PER DAY THAN THE 5-DAY TRIPS?
The Salmon River is divided in to several permitted sections. The section of the Salmon River that we run our 3-day rafting trips on begins at North Fork and ends 50 miles down stream (west) at Corn Creek. There the primitive road that follows the river dead ends and we use it to come back to Salmon. The 5-6 day trips begin here and end a further 80 miles to the west where it meets the road coming in from the other side of the state. Needless to say, you'll find the scenery is as spectacular as the Wilderness section, yet surprisingly, the wildlife is more abundant on our section. (The irony is that you won't encounter jet boats on our section, but you will on the Wilderness section.) The designation of our section of the Wild and Scenic River is "Recreation" and the 5-day section is designated "Wilderness". Because of the road, the Wilderness boundary skirts our section of the river. Companies operating on the Wilderness section are limited to groups of 30 for each trip, and they can only launch every 8 days, so they try to fill every trip every week, and the good ones do. In order to return guests, guides and gear to the point of origin, they must drive 500 miles around the Wilderness they just passed through, fly everything out by charter plane, or jet boat all the way back. What it gets down to is that the increased regulations, limitations and logistics on the Wilderness section naturally impact the cost. Our special use permit does not limit the number of guests we can accommodate on any one trip, and we may launch daily if we so choose (and we do for 1-day trips). However, we choose not to exceed 20 or so guests on our 3-day trips, and we prefer to launch only once a week. We do this for a couple of reasons. We are a small company and we like smaller personal trips that we, and our small circle of excellent guides, can take care of seamlessly with time to turn around the same well-maintained equipment each week. More people and more trips overlapping would require more guides (equals less quality control and individual training), more equipment & vehicles (equals more overhead), and more complicated logistics (equals more staff cost).
The bottom line is that we fill a niche that caters to families who want a grand river adventure in a shorter period of time without spending a lot of extra money for a "more sought-after" river designation.
QUESTIONS WONDERED BUT NEVER ASKED...
ARE THERE ANY BATHROOMS?
Yes, but we usually show people how to use the great outdoors when appropriate. Please notify us in plenty of time if you need to use a bathroom specifically as they are only in certain locations.
WHEN CAMPING, HOW DO I USE THE BATHROOM . . . WHEN THERE ISN'T ONE?
Actually, we do provide a "bathroom" for your convenience and privacy. The portable potty has a plastic toilet seat and works just like the one at home, without the flush (toilet chemicals and deodorizer substitute). Your privacy will be ensured by the surrounding tent that can be zipped up completely or left open to enjoy the spectacular view. Antibacterial hand wash and sanitizer is provided also.
WILL THERE BE ANY OTHER WOMEN?
Definitely. There are usually as many women as men on our trips. And besides, your guide might just be female.
IF I DON'T LIKE IT CAN I GET OUT?
Yes. We can load you into the support vehicle at almost any time, but we have never had anyone, no matter how nervous at first, actually take us up on that option.
WILL THE CAMPING EQUIPMENT BE CLEAN?
As for cleanliness, that is something many people may not think about, but it is one of of the subtle things that sets us apart. We not only provide clean sleeping bags and inner cotton liners for them, we clean our camping equipment between trips, and keep our camp kitchen and mobile bathroom sanitary too.
CAN "THEY" DEAL WITH MY SPECIAL PROBLEM?
If we don't know about it we cannot suggest ways to deal with it, so please call and speak with one of us if you are hesitating because of a specific concern. We have dealt with many unusual situations already, perhaps even yours.
|IS THERE ANYONE I CAN CALL WHO CAN VOUCH FOR YOU? - YES WE WELCOME IT.|
Please contact us directly for Guest References.
Karen Ballard, Idaho Dept. of Commerce, Tourism Specialist, tel. (208) 334 2470, e-mail: kballard [at] idoc.state.id.us
Sophie Broussard, Tour Coordinator, Buffalo Bill Historical Center, 720 Sheridan Avenue, Cody, WY 82414, Phone:307.578.4114 Fax:307.578.4090
Dave & Sheila Mills (Rocky Mountain River Tours), Steering Committee member and past Board member for the Idaho Outfitter's and Guide's Assoc. (I.O.G.A.), winner of the Governor's Award for Recreation Management, Outfitter since 1978. P.O. Box 8596, Boise, ID 83707. Tel: 208-345-2400. Email: dave [at] RaftTrips.com Web address: http://www.rafttrips.com/
Triple Creek Ranch Relais & Chateaux, Catharine, Wayne or Judy. 5551 West Fork Road, Darby, Montana 59829. Phone: 406-821-4666. Email: tcr [at] bitterroot.net Web address: http://www.triplecreekranch.com/
Joe & Fran Tonsmeire, Wilderness River Outfitters, "Quality Wilderness Adventures" Phone: 1-800-252-6581. Email: wro [at] wildernessriver.com Web address: http://www.wildernessriver.com/
Sandra & Jay Ramsey, past employees Email: s3travel [at] juno.com