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Old 02-26-2014   #1
Carbondale, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 19
How young is too young??

...for the grand canyon. I just won a launch date for 2015. My son will be 2.5 years old. Its a long trip and big water, also the chance of a lifetime. Should I pass up the date and wait till he is older. Anyone have any experience with taking kids on the grand canyon?

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Old 02-26-2014   #2
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 727
That is too young for GC. I saw what appeared to be a pretty happy 11 year old girl on a trip that passed us. Not sure much younger than that would work unless an exceptional kid. Her 13 yo brother was there as well, but the parents chose to withdraw him from school for the semester, as making up the missed time was not going to work in their situation. But I suppose that is a different topic. Whenever they go, unless it is middle of summer (yuk), school will have to be addressed.

Keep the permit and go if you can arrange for the kid(s) to be cared for in your absence. Three weeks is a long time to be away when they are that age, which was the toughest part for me. But if you are intent on taking kids when they are of appropriate age, you will be doing them a service by taking the trip and start preparing to make their future trip an enjoyable experience.

Now that age is fine for a trip like Ruby/Horsethief (but not over 10-12K cfs in my conservative opinion), so get them out on trips like that as soon as you feel comfortable doing so. You might as well start their training now.

Good luck!

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Old 02-26-2014   #3
yesimapirate's Avatar
Denver-ish, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 739
Second that opinion. Haven't been on the Grand yet, but committing multiple continuous weeks of camping(and BIG water rafting) for any kid that can't wipe their own butt is a beyond too aggressive. Imagine the amount of storage space needed for new and soiled diapers for a 20+ day trip! Yikes! The Army surplus store better be having a blowout sale on ammo cans.

There are many other reasons that would make me say absolutely not, but this was the first that came to mind.
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Old 02-26-2014   #4
Logan, Salt Lake, Utah
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 66
In my opinion, it is not only too young, but way too young. Like was said above, trips like ruby horsethief are great for kids, but only at the right level. Also look into the san juan. I have never been on the grand, and probably won't for a decade or so, as I have a very young kid, but can you imagine your 2 1/2 year old kid swimming lava?

I run a commercial rafting company on the snake in Wyoming, and what I always tell people is if they are prepared to have their kid swim any rapid on the river, we will take the kid on a rafting trip, otherwise they are too young.
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Old 02-26-2014   #5
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 45
Agree - way too young. I've done the Grand several times and have a 1.5 year old we've taken out a bunch on other trips. No way would I even consider taking a 2.5 year old. Logistics aside, it's just not worth the risk.
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Old 02-26-2014   #6
Osprey's Avatar
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 683
I believe the cutoff for most commercial outfitters is 12 if that's a guide.

When we went our kids were 5 and 11 and we didn't take them. They sure had a great time with grandparents though! I'll love it when I get to take them someday but I wouldn't recommend taking most kids down there until they are older. Even then there is a lot to consider until they are probably in their teens and have a lot of experience.

It's an endurance trip, a lot of fun but also a lot of work. Since you are limited to 16 everybody counts. Everybody who can't pitch in is more work for everyone else. The younger the kid the more they need constant supervision taking another person out of the equation.

Then you have the risk, cold water, big water, heavy current. Are you willing to have someone walk a lot of the rapids? Some big rapids can't be walked. I'm not willing to risk my kids life for an awesome trip. Every year a lot of adults are air lifted out of their trip due to injuries and unfortunately there always seems to be a few who don't come back. If you think you can rescue a 3 year old from a flip in the grand I'd say you are probably wrong.

Leave the kid and take the trip, put in for a San Juan permit to take them on.
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Old 02-26-2014   #7
Colo Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 597
In addition to the above posts, I don't think your 2.5 year old son would later in life remember anything about it, would he? Unless it would be something subconcious.

I'm just not sure what life-type personal benefit he would get from the trip, besides you telling him he was there, that would come anywhere close to outweighing the risks to him.

And, who knows how it might impact other people on the trip?
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Old 02-26-2014   #8
kayakfreakus's Avatar
Steamboat, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 887
I don't usually troll or try and engage in flaming, but this has to be a joke right? 2.5 year old on the Grand - my guess is the ranger would arrest you at the put in.
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Old 02-26-2014   #9
Dipshit with the most.
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Bellevue, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,496
I started one daughter at 3.5 years old and one at 4 on the Middle Fork of the Salmon. They walked a couple of things. I had an adult always on duty ( usually me or my wife and one time a friend and his gal to help relieve) for immediate supervision. I had already guided for 10 years at that time. And we went at very moderate to low flows and I had been down the river over 70 times by then. And had done the river earlier in the season both times. The kids knew the rules that they couldn't even go near the boats without telling us and without wearing their PFDs and we practiced day trips to make sure they would and could follow the rules. They are 9 and almost 13 now and still have chapping, sunburn, pfd burn on the cheeks at this age. Twould be horrible if that was in the Ditch.

Would not recommend for the Grand at that age or for that time period.
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Old 02-26-2014   #10
Redwood City, California
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 5
A little too young but I would be thinking the same thing. Heck, I've got a newborn and was wondering if I could create an inflatable bubble around a car seat with an O2 supply. We could retrieve her with a giant lasso.

I am letting my 7 yr old sit out next year on the grand but taking the 10&12 yr old.

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