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Old 08-03-2009   #1
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 09
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 23
4 year old down Upper C too young?

Hi everyone,

My name is Jim, and I just joined this forum and am
just getting into rafting. I've done about a dozen
trips with commercial orgs, and want to start doing
my own trips in inflatable kayaks with my family using
two tandem IKs. We have
an 8 year old and a 4 year old. The 8 year old and I have
already done some tandem IK trips in class I-II, and it seemed
really easy. Would you recommend that I take my 4 year old
down some mellow stretches (like near State Bridge) or is that
pushing things?

Appreciate the advice,

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Old 08-03-2009   #2
Brotorboat's Avatar
Right near the beach...BOYEEEEE, Brahbrobrahdo
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 442

If you are comfortable paddling your boat...I think you could do the whole stretch from Pumphouse all the way down to State long as you are comfortable, the flows are perfect to learn these stretches of water. These rapids are about the lowest class III's in the state. But if you want to get more time in you can do State Bridge to Catamount which is a full day of floating with only a few wave trains and great scenery.

And if your not in a can put in on the SB side of the road for free (cabins and burned fences..yurts etc...are visible marker) it goes under the train tracks and is very easy to get in and out of...

Any other q's
feel free


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Old 08-03-2009   #3
Cisco, Utah
Paddling Since: Dawn
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 351
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...
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Old 08-03-2009   #4
bigwatertoby's Avatar
Winter Park, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 54
I agree that it depends on the kid. Both my girls started boating at age 3 in a raft and they love it. They are all about the splashes and face shots-the more the better. The upper c is a great place to introduce them and I would recommend pumphouse down as it has some good II's to keep them from getting bored on flat water. My oldest daughter, now 7, has even graduated up to Browns canyon on the ark and is very comfortable there. I would also look at your boating a IK are you comfortable enough that you won't dump your 4 year old in the drink? At that age a swim could scare them off for life..Happy Boating.
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Old 08-03-2009   #5
Moon's Avatar
Silt, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 193
I agree with username have towels and jackets handy. Dry and warm kids are happy kids!
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Old 08-03-2009   #6
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 09
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 23
Thanks for the feedback everyone. I think she would enjoy the splashing
but there is only one way to find out. She enjoyed the IK in a lake and
wished for more bumps in a raft on the Rio Grande mellow stretch.

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. On Wednesday I plan on doing Radium to State Bridge in a tandem IK
through Colorado River Guides with my 8 year old, so I'll get a better feel then. But
it sounds like going down from State Bridge as Matty suggested would be more appropriate.

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Old 08-03-2009   #7
Cisco, Utah
Paddling Since: Dawn
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 351
Hey, tell you CRG guide what your plans are. Ask for some safety tips / advise. Tell you want to learn more than just be guided.
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Old 08-03-2009   #8
El Flaco's Avatar
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,879
I would also recommend the State Bridge to Catamount section first. There's a less than 1% chance of a kid getting bounced out of the boat on that section, and if you're still getting used to the oars, it's worth consideration. We took our 11mo old on it and I felt there was no risk to him at all (mom held him the whole time). The camping is a bit more limited, though.
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Old 08-03-2009   #9
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Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 93
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 844
If you would like some raft accompaniment, I will be going up there this weekend with my 6yr old and my 2 1/2yr old. We will be in my 14' raft and will camp either 1 day or 2 days on the river depending on if I can get some sort of shuttle going. I will head up Thursday night to launch Friday. We may run a day trip Friday and a overnight trip Saturday once again depending on the shuttle availability. I do not mind bicycling from SB or Rancho back to Pumphouse, but I am not sure if I want to bike from Catamount back to Pumphouse. I think hitching from Catamount may be a tough one. I will post up a thread in the trip planning section to see if anyone else is interested.
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Old 08-03-2009   #10
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 09
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 23
Hey Snowhere, I wish my family and I could join you, but we are headed to California this Friday for a week-long visit with my parents. We hope to be able to get out on the IKs in about 3 weeks (assuming there is still enough flow?)...


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