Improving the Family Float - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 04-21-2015   #1
 
Reno, Nevada
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Dec 2014
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Improving the Family Float

So here is the deal. 2 Years ago our family and a friends bought a couple of Star 13 ft. Self bailers from a outfitter in Truckee at a nice price. We have taken them out on a couple of easy class 1+ runs and had a good time, but are looking to get to more fun stuff.

They are set up as paddle boats and it is unlikely we will be able to outfit them with frames and oars, and no one has that experience anyway. For the situation, both of the dads have OK river skills, the wives can add a little power and the kids, all 7-8-9 years old can help a little. Are there any tips you would give to get us moving up into more fun water?

Right now we have a late July trip to raft easier sections of the Rouge, Trinity and Klamath, but we are worried about the water level on all three of those runs. Add to the problem the fact I broke my leg last month and may not be ready to raft by July, and that trip is looking kind of bad. Our local float, the Truckee River is actually predicted to be not just low, but dry this years, it looks like it is really going to be rough. So in those circumstances, is there anything you could think of that might help use to be better if we are able to try again in 2016?

Thanks for any thoughts.

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Old 04-21-2015   #2
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
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Too bad about the broken leg! And too bad about the drought!

Get the family out on a hot day on a lake.
Practice some strokes and teamwork.
Practice some flips and helping each other back into the boat.

Make it FUN. Lots of water fights. Lots of swimming with PFDs.

Hope you have better luck in 2016!
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Old 04-21-2015   #3
 
south lake tahoe, California
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South Fork American. Placerville to Coloma, go without the kids once and you'll be ready to take them.
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Old 04-21-2015   #4
LSB
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Huson, Montana
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Build a wood frame and buy a couple of Carslile oars so you can get into multiday float trips.
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Old 04-21-2015   #5
 
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lafayette or Grand Lake, CO., Colorado
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All my trips with kids and I do a fair share of them. I find the kids love to fish, water fights, hike, camp fires, Geocaching, cooking, electronic games and etc. I did not mention paddling because I have never had a kid scream with excitement can we paddle now. For few $ build a frame and learn how to row (its pretty easy until you get on the bigger water). I have seen kids argue about who gets to row next (Just my 2cents). As far as water to get on would you be willing to travel and run the same section a couple or three of times in Co or Utah?
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Old 04-21-2015   #6
 
cedar city, Utah
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Day sections on the section of the Salmon near Riggins? There a few stretches with easy access that offer mostly Class II experience and then if you are feeling comfortable some Class III. I wouldn't go during peak but it has the benefit of runnable water most of the season.

Roughly 9 hours from Reno.

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Old 04-21-2015   #7
 
boulder, Colorado
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BigHorn has it right. No kid ever begged to paddle, but plenty fight to row. It isn't just about the rapids. Kids dig all the other stuff, like water fights, and time in camp. If you want to ramp up the whitewater then do it as a guys trip. Flipping your boat with a bunch of 7, 8, and 9yo. is sure to turn some of them off to boating.
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Old 04-21-2015   #8
 
Reno, Nevada
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich View Post
Too bad about the broken leg! And too bad about the drought!

Get the family out on a hot day on a lake.
Practice some strokes and teamwork.
Practice some flips and helping each other back into the boat.

Make it FUN. Lots of water fights. Lots of swimming with PFDs.

Hope you have better luck in 2016!
That was kind of my goal for the Truckee out of Tahoe City, but that stretch is going to be bone dry. Might be a fun day on the Lake once it warms up. We could try battles with the other family.
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Old 04-21-2015   #9
 
Reno, Nevada
Paddling Since: 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shoenfeld13 View Post
BigHorn has it right. No kid ever begged to paddle, but plenty fight to row. It isn't just about the rapids. Kids dig all the other stuff, like water fights, and time in camp. If you want to ramp up the whitewater then do it as a guys trip. Flipping your boat with a bunch of 7, 8, and 9yo. is sure to turn some of them off to boating.

My son, the oldest of the kids does OK with paddling, My daughter is more of a problem to keep in the boat when there is the option to swim (she once swam for about 3/4 mile beside the raft on the Merced in Yosemite Valley). I am a little worried about the expectations of the other family. They are looking for Class III runs, but none of the kids have been thrown out of the raft. So far I am the only one who has managed that, which lead to a little panic from the rest of the boat.
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Old 04-21-2015   #10
 
Coos Bay, 97420
Join Date: Sep 2014
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If you have never rowed a boat, you will be amazed of how much more you can do with oars than with a bunch of inexperienced paddlers. If your just doing day trips, I would really try to go with a small aft frame so everyone up front cant still paddle and be part of the action (or not). You have so much more power with the oars that it really doesn't matter much if a 8 year old is actually working for you or against you on the paddle. On nice flat sections, I also highly recommend you flip the raft on purpose. Have a plan and make it fun! The kids will be scared the first time but usually want to flip it after that.

I see crappy looking old frames on Craigslist for $100 all the time. Throw some rattle can paint on it and pick up some wood Carlisles for about $100 and your off and running.

Personally, we usually have the frame w/ boxes and gear in raft and the kids 6-9 just bounce between riding the raft or getting into inflatable kayaks with other people.
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