The guys and I have just finished a four day rafting trip down the Snake River in Hell’s Canyon, Idaho. Are you looking for a family friendly adventure? This is it. We went with the company ROW Adventures. I admit that I have not done any multi-night overnight camping in a tent. So I was a weensy bit apprehensive. Now as I sit in this fancy hotel room, I’m thinking back on my river adventure and realize how much I learned.
Top Ten Things I Learned on The River (in no particular order of importance)
Old People Rock!
We had two semi elder guests join us on this trip. Andy from Canada came without his wife to experience a little bit of adventure- jumping off 25ft cliffs, kayaking through level 4 rapids, rowing the large raft and putting on a dress for the Un-Black Tie dinner. Here in this picture, Andy and Superman competed in the Horseshoe Championship of the camp. Pat was a widow from Oregon, who delighted in every cloud, flower, big horn sheep and story told. Her smile never left her face. She was so frisky, that she snuck in behind Superman and pulled Andy into the water. After Adam had just climbed back into the raft, which is not an easy feat by yourself, sitting on the edge regrouping, Andy grabbed him and pushed Adam back into the water. These two older guests grew younger by the day. Very sneaky, those two! Andy and Pat’s positive outlook on life encouraged all of us to see life with new eyes.
Camping out does not mean slumming it.
Each afternoon, after 20 miles or so on the river, we would pull over to a site to set up camp. Wait, let me back up….the first night, we set up our own tents. The other days, a guide would go on ahead of us and set up the whole camp on their own! On this particular night, we were camped on a beautiful beach with soft sand and the river lapping on the shore. Nice. The tents included a thick pad, sleeping bag and pillow. At night the stars shone so bright and clear, that we took the fly off the top of the tent so we could see the nightly show. Some even slept under the stars without a tent.
Gourmet Meals can be had in the Outdoors. Camping doesn’t mean you have to only eat beans and weenies. After all of these years of watching the guys pack for camping trips, I thought you only ate things that were freeze dried or came from a can. Every meal we had was amazing! How does Eggs Benedict or Banana Pancakes sound for breakfast? Or how about a little baked Brie with pears for an appetizer? Lunch could be a PB&J or a mexi-turkey wrap or even smoked salmon. As this picture shows, Mediterranean Chicken with couscous, beans and fresh fruit was one of our gourmet dinner meals. The guides also cooked up Mahi-Mahi, tortellini pasta salad and perfectly cooked Prime Rib. Oh, how I wish the guides would sneak in my kitchen and cook for us each night.
Superman and I are A-Ok Parents. If you are like me, you’ve at one time or another questioned your parenting skills. Sure, we’ve been complimented on the way we’ve raised our kids and I really appreciate that encouragement. But throughout this trip the guides would tell me how great our boys are. They said that they’ve had many kids on their trips before, but have never seen such polite, funny, helpful and nice teenagers. Oh Yea! Dem R my boys! High five Superman!
It’s ok to be scared. I watched the others take that leap off the high cliff. Surely if old Andy did it, I can do it too. Thomas even showed me, that if you need a second breath, swallow the fear and go! Aaaaaand…Go! I tried. I really did. Adam even went up to the top of the 25 foot cliff again to help me. He suggested to not look down. Good advise, except that water was right there when I was looking where to place my feet. I stepped right up there, telling Superman to take a good picture because this was going to be “blog worthy”! Then SNAP! Fear encased me. I froze! I couldn’t move! I was so embarrassed. But you know what? As walked back down that trail of failure, I really didn’t care. I’m ok, scaredy cat and all.
Slow is Good.
The Snake River is a highly regulated national resource. Only so many boats are allowed on the river at a time. As we traveled the 80 or so miles, we shared the water with speedy fishing boats. Good for them. They got wherever they were going very fast. But you know what? They missed out on hearing the birds calling, seeing the baby Big Horn sheep leap from ledge to ledge and watching the white tailed deer drink at the edge. The conversations we had with each other was really interesting and we never seemed to run out of things to say with these strangers. And just as special, was listening to the quiet dip of the oars in the water, hearing the waves of the rapids before seeing them and keeping a look out for the next wildlife sighting. Going slow took more time, but every extra minute was a nugget of gold.
You Get Over the Groover. It’s hard to believe, but its true. As much as I was completely disgusted by the idea of peeing in one bucket, then swinging over to the other bucket to….(to you know what), I got over it. The first few times of picking up the red box “key”, which holds the toilet paper, hand sanitizer and reading materials, I cringed a bit. I actually thought, foolishly, that I would just hold “it” until we hit a real toilet. Who was I kidding? Especially when your tummy doesn’t really like the spicy chicken as much as your taste buds did. Actually, if I stuck my head out the flap of the tent, breathed some clean air, didn’t waste any time in there, it was fine. In fact, we got to the point where we’d pass the box off to each other. Again, no biggie.
Everyone needs To Ride the Princess Boat. Our caravan of rafts included two kayaks, two cargo rafts, a paddle raft and the princess boat. Two guides drove the cargo rafts. If you wanted to get involved, you could hop on the paddle boat with 3 or 4 other people and row. If you wanted a lot of action, then you could take a turn in a kayak. Now….if you just felt like laying back, feet up, umbrella maybe? The Princess boat is for you…and me! Hee hee.
Yes, I highly recommend this trip. It is for anyone, no matter your skill or thrill level. Summer is here! Any fun vacations planned? I wonder what you will learn.