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Old 04-28-2015   #11
yesimapirate's Avatar
Denver-ish, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 739
All of the above make good points. Personally, my vote is leave the little one at home for the multiday. There are so many variables that are compounded by a toddler.


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Old 04-28-2015   #12
East MT, WestMT, Both sides of the Yellowstone
Paddling Since: 09
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 1,112
I took my 3.5 yo on a short section of the lochsa. Below split, from the bridge to the next take out. I don't think I would take him on a long multi day yet. Possibly in September. I have had him on the Yellowstone for 4 nights. I prefer roadside so there is a bail out option. The yellow jackets are a concern of mine on the main.

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Old 04-28-2015   #13
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 five and the other at 3.5 on the Middle Fork. They both did great and I wouldn't trade that for the world. I also know the MF very well. They did walk a couple of things.

Two is a different story. And camp will be very stressful as the parent at that age. And damn they move fast. Especially when you aren't looking and to them it is still a game to run away at that age.

Both my kids had multiple flat water day trips starting at two to learn PFD etiquette and how to be in a boat and some overnights before we did the big trips. My youngest was pretty scared at one loud rapid the first time. It kind of echoed back up the canyon and she nearly lost it. Once through she wanted to do it again.

From someone who started early myself, I wouldn't. Not that time, for that length.
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Old 04-28-2015   #14
Shingle Springs, California
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 100
I had a reality check on the main two years ago when my 8 year old came down with a really bad rash with sickness right after put in. Only then do you realize how isolated you really are. It is an easy river that turned into 6 days of hell for the entire group and looking back it could have been a lot worse if we need medical attention (two nights I would have taken her to the hospital if it was an option). I would add to the conversation to be really honest with yourself and imagine really worst case or even something that would not be that big of a deal like a flip. Then look at the risk "vs." reward with a two year old. At two, the reward was just not there for our family.
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Old 04-28-2015   #15
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Grants Pass, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 71
I would not take my child on such a trip. It just doesn't sit right with me as way too many things can go wrong. A screaming child can also ruin a nice relaxing day for everybody. A swim could mean disaster. My oldest is almost seven and she can swim well and has seen some class 3 stuff. That being said she has never swam in whitewater and I want to know that she can make it to shore before she does anything with length to it. I hate thinking about a swim where I have to save my child and myself. It's a lot to shoulder for this dad.

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Old 04-29-2015   #16
Antarctica, Alabama
Paddling Since: 1981
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 32

You asked for opinions, here's mine. As parents, we are always doing risk/reward calculations. As outdoors folk, most of us want to expose our kids to things early. We want to encourage love of nature. We want to encourage them to take risks. But a pre 2-year old is too young to get any of that out of a late June Salmon River trip, at least nothing they could not get out of car camping with mom and dad. So, low reward for the child. Risk? Seems pretty high in comparison. A child that young has no chance of self-rescue, of understanding instructions, or telling you enough to know whether that tummy ache is appendicitis. Late June is frigid water, and stuff happens, even in seemingly innocuous places. When I see parents do things like this, it sometimes seems like it is more about the parents ego than providing a great experience for the child. Take em on a warm water flat water trip. In a couple years throw in some mild whitewater, preferably with a few other little sprites to play with. You have a lot of river seasons ahead of you with your child. Enjoy.
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Old 04-29-2015   #17
Fort Collins, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 78
I think the comment about it is fun until it is not is perfect. I have a 3 year old and I am itching to get him on the water but I set a rule for myself in that I will NEVER take him down a stretch of water unless I have run that water at a similar CFS level before. The risk is just too high to make it worth it. For some they don't see it being a big risk but stop and really think about the risk versus the reward.

And I also agree, I could not even imagine the work it would be to take a kid on an 8 day trip. I look forward to doing it often with my son when he is a few years older but right now I would blow my brains out in frustration with all the BS it would involve.
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Old 04-29-2015   #18
south lake tahoe, California
Paddling Since: 1974
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Its your kid, go for it
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Old 04-29-2015   #19
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 505
I wouldn't, for many of the reasons listed above.

Beyond just your ability to nail the lines, sometimes things happen. The toddler could fall out on his/her own. In other circumstances we always talk about "dressing for the swim" and preparing for the unexpected, but with a two year old, how much preparation can you do? I don't like their chances should they take an unexpected swim, whether in a rapid or not.

Beyond those more immediate reasons, I'd also suggest other issues: the yellow jackets can be horrible, as can the rattle snakes. The weather is pretty intense in there, whether cold/rainy in the early season, or blazing hot in late June. I think it will likely be blazing hot this year. Then you have poisonous plants, the chances the kid gets sick... it would be too much for me to put a 2 year old in a wilderness setting like that, removed from immediate care should they need it. Granted, the Main is a lot better than the Middle Fork in this regard, but even still.

And then there's the last factor of... is everyone else on the trip completely on board with a two year old, and all that entails?
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Old 04-29-2015   #20
Portland, Oregon
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 148
Caveat --- I am not a rockstar / class 5 oarsman.

The only variable I, as a parent consider: if said child has to swim a Class III or IV what could happen?

I would not make decision based on the 99.9% safety factor --- I would base it on that 0.1% worst case scenario. On river we should assume self-rescue all the time --- I don't see how a 2 year-old could ever do that.

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