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First Voyage Today

2843 Views 16 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  openboat
Happy Summer....

We took our new boat on it's maiden voyage today. My wife, brother and our five year old son took our new 12' RMR down the Arkansas 'Milk Run' this afternoon. I've had the boat since early April, but since I'm a new boater with a young child I've been waiting for flows to drop back down. I'll probably be bummed some day that I missed the big flows this year has provided, but as a novice I know better than trying to get into the water when it's been running as fast as it has been for the past 4 weeks or so.

We decided to head out today after talking with friends and the AHRA Rangers. The Milk Run is close enough to home, and offered a safer run for my first trip in almost twenty years at the helm. Our son was a trooper. It was a blast. I was nervous having the little guy on board, but this stretch is safe enough and we had a designated swimmer (if necessary) to save the little man.

The seasoned buzzards might mock, or consider us the "gapers" of the water, but it was a great feeling getting out and enjoying part of what makes Colorado so amazing. I have felt this type of excitement a few times (learning to snowboard years ago, and then again while learning to tele). There's something about being new at something that makes it super fun. Kinda like being a great downhill skier or boarder and taking up tele. Worrying about the little things that the experts take for granted. Having that nervous excitement all over again.

We have been on the river many times over the years, but I have only had a little time behind friends oars or as a paddler on friends boats. The last training I had was during a short stint spent on New & Gauley back in the summer of 95'.

I had promised to buy myself a boat more than once over the years, and nearly did after selling a 16' aluminum fishing boat almost 10 years ago. That money was gone before I ever even tried shopping for a raft. Finally decided to take the plunge this spring.

Thanks to all the buzzards who post on this site. The info, photos and opinions are really great. I have been lurking and reading since last summer watching for used equipment and trying to learn about gear options and rigging. Now we need to drag our friends into the sport (or make new ones on the river).

And thanks to the admin for providing this forum. We will try and support the companies that advertise on this site. Hoping to get a Riverboatworks frame before the summer ends. Finally, thanks for the encouraging words from the boaters at the put in. Yeee Freakin' Hahhh. Glad to be out there - good stuff. Looking forward to many more days enjoying our rivers.
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Glad to hear you got good info and had a great time!

Thanks for posting the TR.


Welcome to the raft owner's club. I have loved the chance to take novices and youngsters rafting on beautiful stretches of river, something I can't do with my whitewater canoe. When you get to take your son camping on Ruby Horsethief, I guarantee it will be a lifelong memory for all of you.
A feel good story to start the day. Sounds like you are doing it right. Having someone designated as the official child safety officer is key for us. Simplifies things when we have a "stuff hits the fan" moment. I started my daughter at 4 (2 and a half on flat water) and in another year (she's almost 13) I think she will be able to fish me even in my big raft. She loves to row.

There will be another big water year to get your yayas out in the future. There will only be one time you can introduce your son to rafting at 5 years old.
That sounds fun and I think you handled the safety aspect well.

No go row some harder miles without the kid and learn to handle your new boat.

The stuff that hits the fan can happen in a quick moment even in easy water. Experiencing it first sans kid wood be a benefit. Do milk run then have m and kid pick you up at Hecla after going rough browns without them.

We've has our kid on the river since his first year. The closest calls were of the beach at camps. At five you should be pastor of that issue.

(Seven two 0) 298-2242
So.... recently I took a whitewater rafting trip - to be fair, it wasn't really a trip but more of a half day adventure - for a team building exercise for a company I work for. We floated the Royal Gorge with and it was a blast. I would like to get into whitewater kayaking, but recently moved here from land-locked Nebraska so never really had the opportunity for playing in the water much. I do own a loon 138T kayak and was thinking of maybe trying to float a few "tame" rivers or lakes to get loosened up and hone in my paddling skills then work into the whitewater part. Since I just moved to Colorado I am wondering if:
1. are there some tame rivers around here and how to I go about finding them?
2. Do you think my approach to get into whitewater kaykaying is a good one? I may add that I am no spring chicken, but do have a lot of adventure in me. I guess I am just trying to figure out the best way to learn the sport and also find some advice since none of my family or friends are remotely interested in doing this. Sorry for rambling - 1st time poster - hopefully long time learner.
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You will be buying your second raft before you know it.
Thanks for the responses (especially upshitcreek's). Loon, I will let the more experienced boaters give you advice for learning the sport. But perhaps a whitewater class would be good. I enrolled in one at CMC, but was bumped due to space. I will try again when they offer it. I believe that the best thing would be to try and hook up with other boaters and go on an easy stretch of water.
As mentioned earlier, for sure this will not be your last raft!!!!

Rafting (don't care if it is flat water, moving or full of rapids) is just plain ole fun.

Then there is the camping along the river. Campfires, breakfast in the cool air and star gazing nights.

Cannot think of a better family oriented memory making thing to do.

Welcome to the river family!!!!!
Beginning Beginner

thanks for the responses on my post. CDCfly - where did you enroll in the whitewater class at? I think that is a good idea, that way I can get the basics down and probably meet some other "beginning beginners" This looks like a great forum and a great community to stay involved in - I've never really been a "forum" type person - but then again I've never been a whitewater kayaker either! :)
CDCFLY, I like Dave Frank's advice. Browns is a fun place to get some class III experience. The Eagle from the shit plant into the fairgrounds is another. Run those a few times and you'll get the hang of it pretty quickly.

When the flows come down, Browns slows down so you have more time to make the necessary moves too, although there are more moves to take. We take the kids on Browns in the summers because it's a fun, splashy trip that's relatively easy with some experience behind the oars. You can even make a weekend out of it by camping at any of the several camping areas in the area, and running laps on Browns.

Shoshone will also be a lot easier later in the year when the flows come down, so you can get another crack at that one when it's like 1500 cfs instead of 7 grand or whatever it was. We do that one sometimes with the kids too, and now do it in the mini-Max and let the kids guide!

Like others have said, start saving now. You'll be wanting to add to your flotilla of rafts in the future. LOL
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Sounds like the Browns and Shoshone will be the rivers for me to float. I checked out some whitewater classes but I think most of them are over for the season (I'm sure the instructors want to play also when it's optimal) so will be keeping an eye on them. I asked someone the other day if they thought I was too old to get into this sport and I really liked their answer: "your only old if you stop playing - never quit exploring" I think these are words to live by. I will be "lurking" on this site and trying to learn as much as possible. Thanks!
Shoshone and Browns are a big step up from the Milk Run- I would lap Bighorn Sheep Canyon with the kids for a while- lots of moves, but low consequence. Build your skills- and then run Shoshone/Browns without the kids to make sure you are comfortable.

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Any self-respecting Idaho boater would reply "all rivers in Colorado are easy."
(I don't meet my own definition...)
Shoshone and Browns are a big step up from the Milk Run- I would lap Bighorn Sheep Canyon with the kids for a while- lots of moves, but low consequence. Build your skills- and then run Shoshone/Browns without the kids to make sure you are comfortable.

Sent from my SM-N900V using Mountain Buzz mobile app
I concur about Shoshone, for sure. Do not take you kids on that run until you are REALLY skilled. Run it yourself if you want to, although you should really scout it first. I've seen folks tossed out of rafts there, and my first few whitewater canoe trips down it I swam several of the rapids and had my canoe really beaten up - and that was at much lower levels than what it is now. Take them down to town and even to Newcastle from the Grizzley Creek rest stop, just below Shoshone.
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