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First River with timid wife?

3372 Views 48 Replies 21 Participants Last post by  cake
I got a 12 foot RMR a few months ago and have taken it to a local lake with my wife and two teenage sons just to try it out. Im looking for a super mellow river within about 8 hours of southern CA. Maybe central CA, AZ, Southern Utah or Nevada. Like a 1-4 hour trip, class 1-2 rapids. I want my wifes first river trip to be comfortable and just get the hang of working together, putting in/taking out and shuttling. Any advice or resource suggestions would be appreciated.
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One great family friendly option for a float on a beautiful mellow stretch of river is on the Truckee, from Tahoe City to the takeout at River Ranch at the bottom of the road to Alpine. It's pretty much Class I, (there are harder stretches below the River Ranch). There are raft companies that rent rafts for ppl to float it themselves, without a guide. To give you an idea of how mellow it is, when I was a kid, maybe 7 or so, my totally non-boating parents rented a raft, my mom was 7 months pregnant, and they brought my grandma and great aunt, along with with my sister. It was a truly formative experience for me. When I saw a solo kayaker continue past the "danger take out here" signs at the River Ranch takeout, I was captivated. I said to myself "I want to do THAT!!!", the seed was planted in my little 7 year old brain, and thus began my lifelong love of running rivers and kayaking. I'm sure the Truckee will be high and swift for awhile this year, but for most of the summer it's a lazy, trout fishing, swimming, picnic along the way, family friendly for all ages kind of river. It's very popular, so expect to see lots of people, but it's a great option for a first river experience, especially with a timid wife :)

I agree with the other posters, that finding someone(s) willing to mentor you, or going to guide school, is a great idea, before trying your luck on a section of river with any kind of rapids. Even rivers that appear mellow can have swift currents with obstacles like strainers that can pose serious, life threatening dangers, especially to inexperienced boaters. I think it's great you want to get into this with your family, just be heads up so you stay safe and everyone wants to keep coming back for more! Cheers!
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