Originally Posted by unlucky
Very experienced friend and his wife flipped a boat in Moonshine at high water. My 5 year old daughter was also in the boat. She did not enjoy the swim very much. Fortunately she was under the direct supervision of another adult and they were holding on to each other as they entered the rapid.
I look at rapids and stretches a lot different after that. It was probably more terrifying for my wife and I than it was for her. She had fallen out of a raft in a small rapid (she lost her balance and tumbled out) the year before which I think helped. She had been on 2 previous Lodore trips without incident, but those were at lower flows. For the next couple of years she would ask if we were going to run Moonshine when we went rafting.
It's impossible to explain the feeling that you have when your young daughter is swimming a large rapid potentially by herself and there is nothing you can do to immediately help. It only took us a couple minutes to catch up to them and we were glad to see the two of them holding on to each other.
Make wise choices!
One thing I have to say about Lodore is that one of the only reasons I took my 5 year old is that it WAS low water... and I had the advice of another mom who is a Lodore guide, who told me to take her if it was low water, but not high water!
Also, I hadn't realized that the OP was discussing a 3 year old... I definitely feel that three is too young for Lodore. Even though you can walk around hells half mile, I have heard horror stories of the walk being worse than the run! (lots of poison ivy...)
Also, when reading my happy smiley rainbows and unicorns blog please take into account that I was at the time a 14th year guide, a 29th year private boater and probably had somewhere around 20,000 river miles under my belt. My 5 year old also had around 600 river miles at the time... not exactly a spring chicken so to speak... she had most rookie guides beat! (I knwo this may sound egotistical and/and or preachy, but I'm really just trying to give perspective to the reality of my situation.)
Also, as "unlucky" suggested, shit can happen even to the best of them! I remember almost flipping my daughter and all her cousins when she was 3 in a super low water rapid I knew really well... and it left quite the impression on me, let me tell ya!
She has since that article taken a few good swims out of her kayak, and kept her head (and gear) about her, more than most adults do... but it still scares the shit out of me!
I think what I am trying to say is stick to the San Juan until you are all ready for bigger water where shit can go down hard... and really, I'm one one of those "take your kids out there" advocates! Just sayin'...
But yeah! Get 'em out there! Go run the SJ & Ruby Horse thief & The upper C & the Chama! Take 'em boating!