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Old 08-03-2009   #11
Thronton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 665
Originally Posted by UserName View Post
Depends on the kid... What I have noticed with this age group is that some of them Love the Upper C, some don't. What seems to be the common issue isn''t so much the 'rolling' of the raft through the waves, but getting splashed in the face. Not uncommon for this to really freak some 3-4 year olds out. Alot of crying follows. These experiences are in a raft as well. Again, some kids love this. This also seems to mostly go away with 5 year olds.

Maybe go on a hot day and do some swimming in the big flat spots up there before launching? Have a way to dry them off/keep them warm? Prepare them to get splashed in the face with no warning...
Spot on. My kids are 7 and 5, and we just did Pumphouse to Rancho this weekend. It was sunny all day, so they were warm and dry (when the wanted to be anyway). That was a long time for them though, they were a bit bored due to the lack of "big water" (as my 5 year old likes to call the rapids). They did do a little swimming, and we stopped at the springs to swim and warm up.

When I took them on the Eagle, they got cold early on due to the splashing, but once they warmed back up, they loved it. Until Rodeo - my son got it right in the face and wasn't a happy camper for the next hour or so. He claims he's wearing his swimming goggles the next time we do that one... LOL

With my kids, it's been most successful when they are warm, dry and entertained. I let them row a bit, they swim a bit, etc. I'd probably do a shorter run than I did this last time, especially if there is any wind. Other than that,. the flows are low enough that the river itself isn't that difficult at all. In fact, it wasn't difficult for my 5 year old son apparently...

Sounds like you're experienced and comfortable, so I'd say go for it, have fun, and enjoy some quality time on the river with your kid!

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Old 08-21-2009   #12
Thronton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 665
Originally Posted by jdove View Post
...I guess my main concern is dumping her. I've been in a IK 2 times (class II and a lake), so I want a mellow stretch that doesn't challenge me too much with her in it...

Well, have you had a chance to try this yet? There have been several threads in the past month or so regarding how old kids should be on the river, and my trip last weekend reminded me about them.

We did Ruby/Horsethief with 18 kids and 14 adults (depending on your definition of adult ) last weekend. We had a total of 6 rafts, a cat and two IK’s. Among the adults, there was anywhere from 28 years of guiding experience to very limited experience (no first timers though). The kids also ranged from some experience to almost none (a couple have had experience swimming class III rapids!) and age from ages 9 to 3 (I think, give or take a year on either end). So why do I bring this up? I learned a very valuable lesson on that trip. With your kids, more than ever, DON’T LET YOUR GUARD DOWN.

Here’s what happened. The flows are such that the river doesn’t pose much of a challenge in and of itself. It’s a nice, easy float with some very small waves here and there. So no big deal, right? Well, the kids all wanted to ride in the IK’s. They took turns throughout the 2 days riding in them. Some of the older kids would actually get in them 2-3 at a time and paddle themselves, and the smaller ones would ride in them with the IK tethered to the back of a raft. Or, in my case, go with an adult.

Since the other kids were paddling, my kids (8 and 5) wanted to as well. I went ahead and let them each take turns with the paddle. My oldest actually had the paddle and had us turned upstream (backs to the river) and we were not far off shore. As she tried to turn us back downstream, my son happens to say something like “Daddy, there’s a tree over there.”. I look over my shoulder to see a small tree hanging over the bank of the river, and we’re headed right for it. I grab the paddle from my daughter just in time to hit the tree, and we flip and get sucked under it and (luckily) through the other side. My wife was rowing our raft, and I am sure she had to change clothes later that afternoon. Everyone else was converging on us rather quickly, and had it been any worse, we’d have had lot’s of help getting out of that situation.

My daughter (8 year old) was a champ. She came up, pushed the IK off the tree, and then held onto it and floated downstream. My son however (5 year old) was scared because he was floating by himself downstream, paddle now in hand, but no boat in sight (it was behind him, as were all the other boats – converging on us of course). I got to him, waited for my daughter and the IK to get to us, and got them back into the IK unharmed. His first words – “I hate the duckie!”. I put the sunglasses back on (managed to catch them underwater somehow – and they are prescription ), helped them into a raft to dry off, and then paddled after my hat (found it floating downstream 5 minutes later! ).

After all was said and done, we (me and the kids) learned some very valuable lessons. I learned that I need to be even more vigilant on even the easiest of rivers, especially when it comes to the kids. I let my guard down for just a minute or so, and look what happened. Had I kept my eye on the river downstream, that never would have happened. Had I kept us in the middle of the river, that would have never happened. I felt completely guilty about it, even though an hour later, they both wanted back in the IK!

And they both learned what it’s like to flip and be pulled under the water without notice. They learned a bit about self-rescue in a relatively safe environment (surrounded by boats and people, etc). They learned a bit about paddling and where to go and where not to go. They learned why we never take off the PFD’s. We spend a lot of time talking to our kids about river safety, what to do if they fall in, how to swim in the river, etc, which I am glad we do because this really made it hit home for them. They learned some respect for the river. And of course, they learned a few curse words…

I bring this up in this particular thread not to scare you or anyone else in not taking the kids, but to let you learn from my mistakes and also to impress upon you that it’s also OK (under the right conditions) in my opinion to make mistakes. Shit happens on the river, and it may or may not happen to you, no matter how cautious you are (I am usually VERY cautious). I don’t know your kids, but both of mine got over it really quickly, and were both “back in the saddle” very quickly. A little swim didn’t deter them from enjoying the sport. They dried off, warmed up, and wanted right back in. They even wanted their Dad to paddle… They didn’t flinch at going through some of the waves or other areas of the river after the mishap. In fact, both are telling their friends, teachers, etc about their trip, and of course, they talk a lot about “the flip”. I think they are both actually quite proud of their first time.

As a buddy of mine says: “there are two kinds of boaters – those that have flipped, and those that are going to”. Now everyone but my wife are in the latter group. Guess who’s paddling the IK next time…

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Old 08-21-2009   #13
The Russian
kazak4x4's Avatar
SLC, Utah
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,380
BoilerMaker, great post, thanks for sharing. I am petrified when I take my 6 year olds down the river. I have had them in survival swimming classes for the last two years and now it's paying off. Having your family and kids on the river is such a blessing!

I am taking mine down Green (Split Mountain) in a week, so thanks for the reminder about safety. Last time I was there, my boy was practicing swimming in the current on his own. A good life jacket sure helps, the one with a crouch strap.

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Old 08-21-2009   #14
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 09
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 23
Hi Boilermaker,

Thanks for the post. Sounds like a good lesson! I wonder how my four year
old would have handled that. We are planning our first IK solo trip Labor
day weekend, probably starting with Dotsero to Hanging Lake and then
perhaps up river down to Dotsero. I don't think we would feel comfortable
doing Yarmony rapids or even the El Rancho to State bridge stretch. I did
that with my son (8 years old) in a duckie with a commercial guide and it was
perfect for us, but I'd be too nervous with my daughter in the boat.

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Old 08-21-2009   #15
Dipshit with the most.
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Bellevue, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,497
Good job on getting back together Boilermaker.

I have to admit that I told my wife that our 7 yr old needs to fall in to get some respect. She has not even had any close calls with two Mf Salmon trips and numerous day trips, she follows the rules and listens but I can tell she doesn't quite get how quickly things can go awry.

The "old" river hand.


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