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Old 05-08-2007   #1
Pagosa Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 4
Chama and Children

I'm putting togather a Chama trip in late June. Never floated it. At least one young child in every boat. A couple of parents who don't quite believe this is a totally family friendly trip, which is what I hear. Can anybody back me up?

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Old 05-08-2007   #2
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 507
Originally Posted by blechman1 View Post
I'm putting togather a Chama trip in late June. Never floated it. At least one young child in every boat. A couple of parents who don't quite believe this is a totally family friendly trip, which is what I hear. Can anybody back me up?
It is a very mellow, beautiful run. the last 4 miles or so have some class 3ish stuff but nothing rowdy. If you are a competent rafter you will have no problems. Folks take dogs and kids all the time. Have fun, It is a great trip. Atom..

action is the enemy of thought
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Old 05-08-2007   #3
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 25
yep, take the kids. the chama is a beautiful float with one named rapid in the first 21 miles (wild and senic). aragon. class II. there is also the option of off loading kids before last "eight or nine miles" which has III- (II)'s. a road runs up river from big eddy to chavez putin just past the rio chama campground.
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Old 05-08-2007   #4
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 33
depends on the kid

After seeing a few worst-case scenarios on river trips, I am much more conservative about the idea of taking kids on trips. Really think carefully about the risks involved, including boat flips, hypothermia, and all the other things that we know we adults can handle, because when kids are involved the consequences really multiply quickly.

I would never try to convince a parent to take a kid on a trip if they were hesitating, because their nervousness will carry through the trip and neither they nor you will have a good time. Some parents are nervous when their kid is around a swimming pool at someone else's house. Now imagine that they are maintaining that level of vigilance for every waking hour on the river. Maybe your friends are like this; maybe not.

The decision really depends a lot on the kids and their ages, as well as their parents' comfort level. Bear in mind that many kids are not interested in sitting still for hours, unless they're in front of the TV. My nephews like canoeing only because they have their own little paddles and feel that they are participating; they would be bored spending hours on a raft. Are you prepared to schedule every day around the kids and their needs? Are you prepared to stop every hour or two to let young kids get out and play around? What are you going to do if it's raining and cold? Are you willing to deal with sulky adolescents? Do these kids enjoy boat rides on flat water?

I'd go out on an easy day trip or two and see if these kids (and their parents) will tolerate boats at all, before I planned a wilderness trip with them.
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Old 05-08-2007   #5
Dave Frank's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,727
Well said Alex.

I took Riley down the chama when he was >2, Gates of Lodore at 3. This was comfortable and fun for us, but I never would have invited non-boaters along at such early ages.

It is not far fetched to picture a disaster unfolding, even on easy water. We bumped a rock once on the pumhouse, while I was stuffing the bow rope intead of holding the kid. Dog fell out and I just barely grabbed Riley as he started to fall out. Shit happens quick, even in class 2.

Then you have camp to deal with. I bet that is where you are most likely to lose a little guy.

Do what is comfortable for you, but I wouldn't encourage others.

(seven two 0)-298-2242
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Old 05-08-2007   #6
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Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1984
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Posts: 1,879
Yeah, I would hold off teaching them how to make Bacon Bombs until at least age 4.

At least it also makes good bandages!
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Old 05-08-2007   #7
COUNT's Avatar
Summit, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jul 2005
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What the Hell?!! I want one! Probably not recommended for use in bear country, though.

All I can say is I'm very glad my parents started taking me out on trips when I was a kid (4-ish). If the kids are good and the parents can handle it, go for it.
"The world would be a better place if everyone kayaked."-Brad Ludden (Valhalla)
"You only get one chance to run a drop blind."-DD
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Old 05-08-2007   #8
Abron Cabron
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Santa Fe, Nuevo Mexico
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 594
It is a very beautiful, mellow float with some pin possibilities throughout- shallow Class II with some little sleepers here and there (or everywhere below 500cfs) or deep flatwater. there is one uncercut wall- it is the first rapid on the day section. its actually real straight forward, and another wallshot near the end) - but it is about as friendly of a multi-day as it gets (with a little II-III-) to keep it fun. Super gorgeous, very isolated canyon. the best camp spot for the first night is Aragon, because of the rock in the middle of the river to swim to/ jump off of, and a little class II below camp which can be lapped in a ducky, or whatever..... Actually it makes a good layover spot- @ 10-12 miles the first day and a long last day @ 18 miles... . the water is very cold though (for NM) as it comes from the bottom of El Vado lake....
i think cold exposure and prolonged wetness leading to hypothermia are serious concerns in any craft except an oar rig where you can stay warm and relatively dry on the gear pile. my friends 5 y/o daughter got very cold sitting in the front of a ducky even in midsummer, and we didnt even put in at the top of the day run. (you can skip a lot of flat by putting in @ a mile above skull bridge for the day run)... she loved the class II waves, but we had to pull out early at camp to warm her. it would have been bad if we couldn't have stopped there. (hindsight- a raft would have been better vessel for a kid...) i personally think it is a great kid run, but absolutely agree with the above posts -bieng as cautious as appropriate, and that what works for some doesn't always work for others. (the lowest common denominator theory....)
IMO wetsuits and dry or splashgear,booties and warm clothing should at least be available on the boat, and then it should be no problem....
have fun!!!

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