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.
Desolation/Gray is a pretty good first multi-day trip, especially at "normal" (i.e. low) water levels. You can just about hit anything and go through in any orientation and still be okay. Pretty low consequences. Pretty good drive from Cali though.
There's timid about the risk. Scary rapids, bad swims etc. But some people are just timid about being outdoors, pooping in a groover etc. Figure out what bothers her and try to avoid/minimize that stuff. I mean, if it's the rapids that are scary, go do some flat water. If it's the camping, do a few dailies.
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