Kids on the Middle Fork - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 02-20-2012   #1
 
Eagle, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 49
Kids on the Middle Fork

We were lucky enough to pull a Middle Fork permit launching on June 30th. Now we have to decide whether to take the kiddos, 11 and 8 years old. I know it will be an awesome trip, they are river kids through and through, but this will be a step up for them for sure. They've done plenty of float trips, rafted the lower Eagle, Gates of Lodore, and the Upper C last year over Memorial Day at 10,000cfs. I'm just wondering if anybody has experience on this with their kids and what their experience was. Any constructive opinions would be appreciated!

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Old 02-20-2012   #2
 
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Glenwood Springs, Colorado
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I took my sons down the MF for their first trip when they were 10 and 8. the water was at 3.5 and was perfect for a family trip at that level. They had been down the Dolores,
The Main, Cataract, Westwater and several others by that time.

My oldest took his own boat down the Selway at 15, so it pays to start them young.
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Old 02-20-2012   #3
 
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Lewistown, middle of MT
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My husband and I have both been down the Middle Fork and we just discussed this as we have an 11 and a 9 year old. We would not take them, but you must understand that both times we went the water was high and Velvet Falls had many flips. You can walk around most of the big ones - so that's an option too. At low water it might be easier and safer. Also it depends if you start at Boundary or Indian. After Indian, I don't think I'd worry as much.
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Old 02-20-2012   #4
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Baytopia, Colorado
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has the oarsman done the middle fork? how confident/good is the oarsman? this year should be lower water than normal. no one can tell you what to do. most likely it would be great to bring your kids if the level is friendly and the oarsman is skilled and the kids can swim.
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Old 02-20-2012   #5
 
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vancouver, Washington
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neice at 3.5 on July 4th. She performed like a champ - no fear, no complaining. If someone were as lucky as me to have a neice like that I'd say yeah bring them. If they are ADHD don't but sounds like if they are river kids you won't have a problem. Weather was crap, make sure they are warm and happy. Boys are less mature than girls. Make sure you keep them on a boat that is oared by someone competant. with my neice she went between my boat and my friends only. that time of year you can have some flips ...
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Old 02-20-2012   #6
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Bellevue, Idaho
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My daughters first trip on the MF was at 3.35 and we launched on June 1st 2007. It was awesome. She was four and a half. She slept through Velvet and Haystack and got a tick in her hair.

the banner snotel is showing almost an inch less SWE ( stored water) right now than at the same time in 2007. Hope we make up some so you can get that 3.0 level for June 1st.

In other words don't worry too much about high water. Mine have been down 5 times and 4 times now at 10 and 7 years old. We have so much fun and can't wait to do it again.

Go! Have fun.
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Old 02-20-2012   #7
 
Boise, Idaho
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I have taken my kids and those of friends down the MFSR many times. Once 4 fathers took 9 kids all under the age of 13 (youngest being down the river at water level 2.0. The key to answering this question is: 1. have they swam through rapids before and know how to do this; 2. Are they capable of saving themselves when swimming should the worst case happen where the boat is wrapped on a rock or something similar. I made all of the kids swim rapids and prove to me they could save themselves before I would include them. That said, my 10 yr old son rowed a fully loaded boat down the MFSR when he weighed in at around 80lbs. He grew up on the water, knew how to read it and could make the moves but I must admit it made me very nervous. Anyway, this is like fairy land for kids. They absolutely love it. Take some IK's along and you will have a tough time getting them back in the raft. Stop at the hot springs, they love it. Jump off the pack bridge, they love it.
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Old 02-20-2012   #8
 
Idaho Falls, Idaho
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As questioned, safety of the 'kids', but additionally, will they be bored and never want to go on another trip!

My experience is similar to other posts. Depending on weather, water, and oarsman experience, this should be a great year for a June 30 float (unless Spring/Summer comes all at once on June 25th!). Probably the single largest issue I would have is support. IF the oarsman get's in trouble, he will get (have) to decide on boat/gear or kids! I would recommend strong boaters close if not in the same boat with the kids so the oarsman can focus on getting out of the predicament or stay with the boat.

I took my grandson down at 7 with water level about 2'. About half way through the first day, he began to wonder when we were 'going to get back to the truck'. After a short lesson, we decided that every good captain must have a co-captain. It became his job to read the map and identify where we were, what was coming up, and soon, be looking for 'enemy submarines' (rocks under the surface) that we had to dodge. Now, 4 years later, he still talks about his trip. Plan ahead for the children and their passions, whether it be fishing, scenery the rapids, or star wars, the river can provide it all and make it a trip of a lifetime.
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Old 02-20-2012   #9
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Bellevue, Idaho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lyhfamily View Post
IF the oarsman get's in trouble, he will get (have) to decide on boat/gear or kids! I would recommend strong boaters close if not in the same boat with the kids so the oarsman can focus on getting out of the predicament or stay with the boat.
Good points. When I have my kids with me, I make a plan with the other adult in the boat and who is going for which kid if the unthinkable happens. I did move away from my lead spot quite a bit too, to be the meat in the sandwich so to speak.
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Old 02-20-2012   #10
 
Boise, Idaho
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I have never seen a kid bored on the MFSR, however, I stay way engaged in their fun. I like hanging out with kids more than adults so I guess I am just a big kid. Fishing, hot springs, hikes, jumping off the bridge, indian paintings, caves, all the wonders...if you work it they will have non stop fun all the way down and talk about for many years to come.
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