Wow... I haven't been back to this thread for a few days! Again... got kinda angry there for a minute... must be winter!
But ya know what? Tomorrow's gonna be a powder day at my hill!!!
Anyways, about that whole tangent... it's totally your comfort zone as a parent. If your not ok with it, trust your gut! Yes, I take my daughter on a lot of adventures, but I also don't take her on a lot of adventures too.
Phil was talking about the PFD by the water rule... it's kinda funny, the other day I was just talking about that PFD by the water rule and how it just makes sense and is a standard river kid rule (like helmets for biking, skiing, boating, etc...) But, it wasn't when I was a kid! We used to run amok at camp! I mean, we had to wear PFD's if we were playing IN the river, but not near it... but we also had ill fitting PFD's, no helmets, I mean, it was the 80's!
The other thing that kinda blows my mind is this: I have been a guide for 15 years, a private boater for 30 years & I have over 20,000 river miles. I am the guide who takes the grandmas and the kids, the paraplegics, the heart attacks waiting to happen, and the crying scared guests. During high water I'll put all the rookies in Browns and I row the family floats, (because all sections of the Ark get scary at high water.)
And I'm not saying that shit doesn't happen to me, shit can happen to anyone, and certainly does happen to me at times. I'm also not trying to toot my own horn here, I'm just giving honest perspective to this:
When I started boating at 3 years old, my dad was a brand new private boater. His best friend was a guide, and he took some ww canoe workshops, but he was a straight up rookie private rafter... and he took us down things that I never would have taken my daughter down. I mean, my first Middle Fork trip I was 6 years old! My 6 year old has over 700 river miles, paddles a kayak, can row a raft, R2's with me & will Not run class IV for probably a couple more years!
You might say that what my dad did was irresponsible, (honestly it kinda blows my mind!) But you know what? I am sooooooooo glad that he did!!! Seriously, I never had a bad day on the river as a kid and it sparked the passion that would shape my life and make me the woman I am today, and I am grateful!
Again, I think it boils down to who we are as parents and what our personal comfort zones are. I am a very conservative boater and will never be the kind of badass that my dad is.
I mean, he doesn't boat much any more, but this fall at 64, I shared a boat with him in the Grand (he hadn't been in the Grand since '83) and he rowed a little bit here & there, but not much. Meanwhile I felt like I needed as much practice as I could get for Hance & Horn & such... He then commenced to row Crystal and Lava and make them look boring! Seriously, effing styled them better than anyone else! Jaw dropping perfection!
He really is just a natural bad ass at just about everything he does. Me, I work really hard to get good at what I do & am very cautious, metered, read, versed & practiced about everything I do. So, hence, he and I have very different comfort zones... but I obviously survived and thrived & raise my own daughter in a very different but equally rich and adventurous way.
Whew! That was quite the harangue! If your still reading this... I commend you!
As far as the PFD's were mentioned- yes, I had my daughter in a Stohlquist Nemo when she was really little. Extrasport also makes a good infant PFD. Good kid gear does exist now days!
You have to really look for it, but it's out there, and is way better than the crap I survived childhood with!
also, leo_amore, that was very sweet of you to say! It totally made me blush and feel all gushy inside...
I tell you what though, if the first time your little one slept through the night was in a tent then that bodes well for having a life long adventure buddy!
As g.soutiere said, it's important to be cautious in any natural environment! And honestly, I find leaving my daughter at school every day scarier than rowing her down Browns... I mean with all the school shootings and bullying and bad habits from other kids, and nasty elementary school flues and virusus... Gah!
Also, we are both soooo much more comfortable on the river or on the ski hill than in any city! I mean, Every environment is dangerous in it's own way & we just learn to adapt to the ones that we spend the most time in.
So yeah, trust your gut and have fun with your kids to a degree that you are comfortable with, while teaching them to push the borders of their comfort zones! Soon enough they will be leaving us in their wake...