This was a wonderful trip for us to get ready for our "Families on the River" Program. I'll be taking new families on river trips in hopes of sharing the excitement that family time on the river has to offer. I'll also be working on my "Family Therapy on the River" program, where I'll be taking families who can benefit from working together in what will be challenging, therapeutic, and healing. I couldn't be more excited and have had an excellent response. Whether it's inner-city families who are new to outdoor activities or families who want to improve their relationships, the river will provide what they seek. I can't wait to see how each family responds and grows to the demands and beauty of river life. Being on "River Time" (leave your watch at home) allows individuals and families to live in the present. Cell phones, Ipads, hand-held video games somehow don't work on the river! But do bring your camera. And don't forget your wishes and dreams for how you'd like things in your family and marriage to change.
A big Shout-Out and thanks again to Chris Frazee of Maravia Rafts, Tony Abrams of Canyon Coolers, Jan at Stiches-n-Stuff, the fine folks at Cascade Outfitters and Mike Mather (the best trainer for river safety!) for their help in putting this program together!
Our trip started with all the planning involved in multi-day trips. A detailed and tasty menu, gear list, safety equipment (double check it twice), beefing up the first aid kit, are all the things involved in planning for a fun and SAFE multi-day trip. And 71 miles of river in 5 days is no small task. Once you push off into a canyon with no way out other than floating...you better have what you need!
After planning food and gear, we watched the flows and weather. Due to cool weather, the flows dropped a bit. They were around 1400 CFS when we put in and stayed around there throughout. Floatable for sure, but you had to keep your eyes peeled for sleepers (shallow rocks) and rock gardens. Getting hung up isn't fun in general, but with cool temps I wasn't wanting to have to hop out of the boat to push.
The morning of the trip the river ranger showed up to check to see if we were really ready for our expedition. She wasn't kidding around! She looked for our "Groover" (toilet system), First Aid Kit, Fire-Pan with required Fire Blanket, Safety Equipment...then she signed out our permit and said good luck! As the assigned trip leader it was my job to make sure we had everything required. If you don't have every mandatory piece of equipment and documentation, there's no float for you!
Before letting us shove off, the ranger pointed out that we were the only boats putting in that day, none had left the day before and none were leaving the following day. My sister who's quite the wilderness lover was so happy to hear that we wouldn't be seeing ANYONE on our trip. As excited as I was, I also felt the pressure of doing a good job as the trip leader. I was extremely happy to have my wilderness seasoned sister along. With no one around to assist it was really important that we were smart and safe. Thanks Mike Mather for the training! I take his White Water Rescue class about every other year and still have more to learn.
Here are some pics that I'm hoping my readers enjoy. If you're a family wanting a river experience, please shoot me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
A little relaxation at the "Put In" after a long drive from Denver.
The Barney Barge is Family Friendly. My wife loves the bass boat seat I put on for her. A happy wife on the river is a happy life on the river!
One thing for sure...Kids love water!
There's nothing like the entrance into a canyon that you'll be living in for 5 days.
My Brother-in-Law came from Kansas and left an accomplished river rafter. He was floating a 12' raft on his own and rocked it! He did a great job!
He may have been a majestic elk in a past life!
"Wow" was the word of the trip!
It was a bit chilly, but the times were good and my crew was a hearty bunch!
Another Wow moment!
My kids know how to live life on the river!
Having my sister along made the trip very special for me. We learned so much from her about botany, geology and Environmental Conservation. Thanks Nancy!!!
The contrast between the canyon and snow cover mountains was stunning.
Those crazy River-Kids!
It's hard not to have a good time on the river with scenery like this.
The Watercress below Warm Springs Rapid was my wife's favorite.
That's our favorite campsite of the trip. Mathers Hole.
The great thing about river trips is that with the coolers we can fit our boat, you can truly have a gourmet experience! Here's our grand meal at Mather's Hole, Rib Eyes and Apple Cured Pork Chops from Middle Park Meat Company in Kremmling Colorado, and a Salmon Steak from Tony's Meats for my healthy sister. Regulations require a fire pan that has 4' legs and the fire blanket shown catches any ash. I use a welder's blanket. This meal also included my wife's Crab and Asparagus Risotto. We had her chocolate cake for desert. What an amazing meal!
Here's are meal on night number 3. My wife's famous green chili with some Tacoritos from Santiago's Englewood! Yum Yum!!! Again the fire blanket helps us from making a mess.
It was nice to see the herd of sheep again at Jones Hole. We saw some river otters but I was slow with the camera.
It was also nice to fish again at Jones Hole!!!
This picture says it all for me. Floating with my daughters is truly wonderful.
Life on the River. It couldn't be better!
Back with more soon!
Bill Strong of Denver on Family Rafting