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Howdy folks.

It's permit app season, so I'm making sure I get all mine in on time. How suitable is Gates of Lodore for small kids - a 6 yo and a 3 yo? I've never run that stretch and would like input from those of you that have been on it and if with small kids even better.

TIA
 

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Depends on time of year, your children's comfort level with whitewater, and your abilities. There are plenty of people who could do it and have fun, but many more for whom its probably a bad idea.
 

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I now have a 2 and a 5 year old. We have floated the Main Salmon, San Juan, and Deso with kid(s), but probably wouldn't do Lodore...Theres not a real good walking option at Hells, and Split Mtn, while not really hardcore, is not a risk I'd take with kids...
 

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Good to go after peak flow you may want to walk the kids around hells half mile depending on your skill level. Last trip I was on took 8 yr old through and a buddy took his 4 yr old. No problems for us but definitely make your own call.
 

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I went down there with 9 and 12 year olds, experienced, strong swimmers and it worked out good. I personally would not take any kid on that stretch of the green that could not self rescue if necessary.



The ranger was more than a little bit full of himself.
 

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I hold to don't boat it if you won't swim it, and there is too much in Lodore that I would not want a 3 y.o. swimming. I think 6 is the youngest anyone will take commercially. YMMV... Other than rapids that are higher consequence than fun, it's a great trip for kids with short river days, great camps, and fun hikes.

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Here is a write up on my experience of this exact subject... The Gates of Lodore vs the First Day of Kindergarten.

Please take into account though what lmyers said about your experience and the comfort levels of both you and your kids. I am a very experienced boater and my daughter is a very seasoned camper and boater, so our comfort level is different than many peoples. Having said that, the Gates of Lodore definitely pushed my comfort level a little bit, (just with bigger rapids that I didn't know.) But for us the experience was beautiful and well worth it!

Also, just to throw it out there... there are a ton of Awesome multi day trips that have less intense whitewater. There has been a recent thread about it here... Also, a great resource for family boating is the FB group River Kids, and there have been some recent family multi day discussions happening on there.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/250132875077406/?ref=br_tf
 

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One more thought about this section of green, last year bears were a small problem and skunks at jones hole camps a big problem.
 

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I think 3 is way too young for Ladore. Boats flip there. Do the A, B, and C sections above in conjunction with the free play permit to take out at the Ladore boat ramp. Some smaller rapids, better access if you need it, and less chance of a dead 3 year old...
 

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My 5 year old swam Moonshine

Very experienced friend and his wife flipped a boat in Moonshine at high water. My 5 year old daughter was also in the boat. She did not enjoy the swim very much. Fortunately she was under the direct supervision of another adult and they were holding on to each other as they entered the rapid.

I look at rapids and stretches a lot different after that. It was probably more terrifying for my wife and I than it was for her. She had fallen out of a raft in a small rapid (she lost her balance and tumbled out) the year before which I think helped. She had been on 2 previous Lodore trips without incident, but those were at lower flows. For the next couple of years she would ask if we were going to run Moonshine when we went rafting.

It's impossible to explain the feeling that you have when your young daughter is swimming a large rapid potentially by herself and there is nothing you can do to immediately help. It only took us a couple minutes to catch up to them and we were glad to see the two of them holding on to each other.

Make wise choices!
 

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Very experienced friend and his wife flipped a boat in Moonshine at high water. My 5 year old daughter was also in the boat. She did not enjoy the swim very much. Fortunately she was under the direct supervision of another adult and they were holding on to each other as they entered the rapid.

I look at rapids and stretches a lot different after that. It was probably more terrifying for my wife and I than it was for her. She had fallen out of a raft in a small rapid (she lost her balance and tumbled out) the year before which I think helped. She had been on 2 previous Lodore trips without incident, but those were at lower flows. For the next couple of years she would ask if we were going to run Moonshine when we went rafting.

It's impossible to explain the feeling that you have when your young daughter is swimming a large rapid potentially by herself and there is nothing you can do to immediately help. It only took us a couple minutes to catch up to them and we were glad to see the two of them holding on to each other.

Make wise choices!
One thing I have to say about Lodore is that one of the only reasons I took my 5 year old is that it WAS low water... and I had the advice of another mom who is a Lodore guide, who told me to take her if it was low water, but not high water!

Also, I hadn't realized that the OP was discussing a 3 year old... I definitely feel that three is too young for Lodore. Even though you can walk around hells half mile, I have heard horror stories of the walk being worse than the run! (lots of poison ivy...)

Also, when reading my happy smiley rainbows and unicorns blog please take into account that I was at the time a 14th year guide, a 29th year private boater and probably had somewhere around 20,000 river miles under my belt. My 5 year old also had around 600 river miles at the time... not exactly a spring chicken so to speak... she had most rookie guides beat! (I knwo this may sound egotistical and/and or preachy, but I'm really just trying to give perspective to the reality of my situation.)

Also, as "unlucky" suggested, shit can happen even to the best of them! I remember almost flipping my daughter and all her cousins when she was 3 in a super low water rapid I knew really well... and it left quite the impression on me, let me tell ya!

She has since that article taken a few good swims out of her kayak, and kept her head (and gear) about her, more than most adults do... but it still scares the shit out of me!

I think what I am trying to say is stick to the San Juan until you are all ready for bigger water where shit can go down hard... and really, I'm one one of those "take your kids out there" advocates! Just sayin'...

But yeah! Get 'em out there! Go run the SJ & Ruby Horse thief & The upper C & the Chama! Take 'em boating! :D
 

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Another potential issue to keep in mind - wind. Took my 5 yo on Yampa prepared for rapids, but it was the brutal winds in split mountain that left a lasting negative impression. Hours of the worst wind we've ever experienced...too loud to hear anything, very difficult to keep boats together, meaning be prepared to deal with any situation on your own.
3 sounds young to me, for what it's worth.


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I feel if you have to ask other people if it's safe to take your kids down a stretch of river that you are unfamiliar with then the answer should be no. If you don't know where the scouts, Rapids, and camps are you shouldn't bring a child along.
 

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I feel if you have to ask other people if it's safe to take your kids down a stretch of river that you are unfamiliar with then the answer should be no. If you don't know where the scouts, Rapids, and camps are you shouldn't bring a child along.

At first I agreed with this belief but after giving it some thought I have to say I strongly disagree. I feel its prudent to gather as much info as you possibly can about a personal first accent on any river trip. Especially where children are involved. I don't think you become less capable for doing so.
I personally feel 3 is too young to be camping away from a vehicle but I think you could be at the cusp both age wise and river wise also. The camps are very easy to find and pretty kid friendly and the Rapids are pretty straightforward at moderate flows. I absolutely feel that kids need an adult assigned to them, one per kid and the rower does not count. Still 3 is very young.


Jim
 

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I would not take any kids that young down Gates without having done it once before. I like to see what I'm getting into before risking the lives of that young of kids. Even at low water, some of those rapids would be long.... rocky.... swims....
 

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I took my 8 month old daughter down Lodore. It was low water. I was experienced on that stretch. We walked around Disaster, Triplet, and Hells. There was always an adult next to her whose sole job was to take care of her if anything happened. Your kids are older and I would think that if you are an experienced boater and you do the low water, walk the difficult ones and have an adult companion for at least the 3 yr old, it would be OK. Our biggest problem was the rocking of the raft put her to sleep during the day and she was up half the night. My kids walked Hells til they were 8 yrs.
 

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I took my 8 month old daughter down Lodore. It was low water. I was experienced on that stretch. We walked around Disaster, Triplet, and Hells. There was always an adult next to her whose sole job was to take care of her if anything happened. Your kids are older and I would think that if you are an experienced boater and you do the low water, walk the difficult ones and have an adult companion for at least the 3 yr old, it would be OK. Our biggest problem was the rocking of the raft put her to sleep during the day and she was up half the night. My kids walked Hells til they were 8 yrs.
You took aN 8 month old down Ladore? You're either a troll or the most negligent parent on the buzz yet!
 
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