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My friend wants to bring his parents who are in their 70s and have not rafted. It was going to be him and his girlfriend bringing just dad and now its just my friend wanting to bring both parents. I am concerned this could be a little dangerous and a lot of work. This is a private trip with less support you might have on commercial trips. Thoughts. Thanks!
 

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Well... first question is are his parents generally in good health and active. I have a couple of friends in the 70 year age and they a fit and active with no issues.


I guess the only question I ask is "can they self rescue" if they fall out of the boat? I ask that question of anyone that goes with me on the river. If the answer is no, then they don't go with me.


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My buddy just turned 70 and ran his 30+ Middle Fork trip this spring. Two years ago did the Selway early June at a fairly cranking level. He also swims up to a mile and a half three to four times a week.

So yes are they fit? Have trouble walking on uneven ground? Self-rescue?

So meet them and see what they are about. Come up to Ketchum sometime and there are tons of 70 year olds who will activity your ass into the ground.
 

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As usual, it depends.
Largely on your friend's experience -- experience with multi-day trips so he knows what he is getting into work-wise and perhaps experience on Lodore at the anticipated flows -- I'm pretty darn new at this and I've floated Lodore a couple of times with no problems -- it really isn't all that challenging, especially for someone with reasonable experience. It also may depend on how fit his parents are. So, those things it depends on are things your friend presumably knows. (So, maybe this all depends on whether or not you trust your friend to objectively evaluate -- which I guess you don't, hence your posting the first time on this forum.)
 

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My buddy just turned 70 and ran his 30+ Middle Fork trip this spring. Two years ago did the Selway early June at a fairly cranking level. He also swims up to a mile and a half three to four times a week.
Sounds like he needs to work on his roll! :eek:

So yes are they fit? Have trouble walking on uneven ground? Self-rescue?

So meet them and see what they are about. Come up to Ketchum sometime and there are tons of 70 year olds who will activity your ass into the ground.
Absolutely. Are they the type of "active seniors" who hike every weekend and take bicycle tours, or are they "active seniors" who have a 45' diesel pusher motor coach who golf 9 with an electric cart so they can get back in time for happy hour?

I have friends who are 65-70 who are at the top of my list should I pull a permit...but I don't think I'd even put my own parents on the list.

As usual, it depends.
Largely on your friend's experience -- experience with multi-day trips so he knows what he is getting into work-wise and perhaps experience on Lodore at the anticipated flows -- I'm pretty darn new at this and I've floated Lodore a couple of times with no problems -- it really isn't all that challenging, especially for someone with reasonable experience. It also may depend on how fit his parents are. So, those things it depends on are things your friend presumably knows. (So, maybe this all depends on whether or not you trust your friend to objectively evaluate -- which I guess you don't, hence your posting the first time on this forum.)
Absolutely ask if they could self-rescue. I would think that a daytrip would tell you a LOT about whether you'd want to spend your multiday with them.

Are you being asked to be the guide/outfitter for them, or will they pull their own weight with your buddy just looking for 2 of the spots on your permit?

I don't want to spend my vacation being the outfitter for someone else's vacation...when my vacation turns into work, I may as well not go.


Edit: "If you have to ask", chances are you're having your own doubts. You really need to have an honest conversation with your buddy. This is one of those things where it could ruin your friendship....or you could end up with a really cool second set of parents.
 

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Side note: Cold water and weaker or older hearts can be a dangerous mix leading to heart attacks and drownings. Make sure that they dress to swim. Also think about using a pee bucket to avoid a fall into the water during the day or worse yet at night.

I would say that being able to walk on uneven ground and climb stairs at a reasonable pace would be a good baseline for going on the trip.

That said taking parents on the river is a great experience. This might be their first and last time to share in a river trip with their kid. I got to take my dad (in his mid 60's) down gates of Ladore 2 years ago and it was a blast. It was his first multi-day river trip. I hope to get him on more trips.
 

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We routinely take my sister who had a stroke 22 years ago with us. She has to use a cane to walk on rough ground and we have to be choosy about where we take her, but leaving her is not an option.
As far as taking parents the best we got was taking them on a day trip beer float. We never did get to do the multi-day's, both are gone now.

By all means talk to your buddy and his folks, assess the risks, and obviously if it looks like they are on deaths door suggest they look at your pictures when you get back.

So help out your friend be the outfitter/guide. You'll get the chance to get off to side and take a break and what the heck your on the river.


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A lot of good advice so far on this thread.
Reminds me of being given a comercial trip with a 70,s year old in the royal gorge, I was pissed of at the time, didn't want the added risk. He ended up thanking me at the end of the trip, said white water rafting had been on his bucket list, and he wanted to make it down the gorge before he died.
Kind of humbled me.
Glad i took him.
He was also in good physical condition,it was a forgiving water level, and I had been down the royal gorge almost every day that summer.

Meeting said parents would be a realy awesome idea. Besides safety concerns, they might just annoy the crap out of you, just like any one else could.

It's awesome to share a realy cool river trip with someone that may not be around much longer, but no one wants to take mom and pop on the trip that one of them dies on.
Listen to you're gut.
 

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I took my 71 year old mom on the Grand to Phantom. Our relationship suffered, but I am glad I gave her the experience. She is glad for the adventure, but was ready to be done by the time we got to Phantom. She rode a donkey out. She was definitely challenged by the trip, and she had been on several multiday raft trips when she was a bit younger. Perhaps it would have gone better if the weather had been better, or she hadn't gotten the Shingles that winter or had taken the preparation more seriously. I had asked her to swim twice a week in the local pool, she never did. Lodore would be a better trip than the Grand for an older person. I think you will be doing more of the work than you might otherwise, I know my fellow boaters were a big help. I am grateful to them. If things go poorly it will be your buddy that suffers the most. Do his folks actually want to go? Can they swim? Maybe a day together trip first to help them decide if they want to spend four days at it?


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This reminds me a bit of a commercial client from my guiding days. First full trip of the year down the MF at just about 5 feet. So not flood stage, but cranking. My boss informs us there is an 80 yr old on the trip. My thoughts were WTF? Really?

We meet the crew and it turns out she is a little petite lady from New York originally from North Carolina and she still retained a strong, slow, southern drawl. She looks to be in pretty good shape but still, I am concerned. I go into a very thorough safety talk finishing with explaining the differences in oar boats and paddle boats and how to be safe in each and we start dividing up people, I am assuming she will be in an oar boat. I am running the first paddle boat so she comes right up to me to be in my boat. I try to explain the paddle boating would be much better for her in the middle section after Pistol Creek and safer.

She pauses to compose herself and addresses me by name in that steady, southern drawl - "Now Carvedog, I have been wanting to do this trip for fifty years, but my husband was a New York Jew, God bless him, and didn't want to. I waited until he passed because I was unwilling to leave him alone to do this. But I did not come to the Middle Fork to sit on my fanny, I came here to paddle the Middle Fork and that is what I intend to do."

Gulp. Consultation with my boss Kurt he talks to her friends and family on the trip and says go for it. He will run right behind me and we make sure two oar boats are out front to run safety on either side and I put her right in front of me. We do an extended amount of paddle practice in the eddy, so there are no slackers in the boat to jeopardize my cargo. Wow, she actually listened to the paddle instructions better than anyone and is using her whole body, not just doing whiffer arm strokes. Good, maybe this will work.

But still there is no way I am running the right side of the hole in Velvet with her even though that is by far my preferred line at that flow. So we make the cut behind the rock, do a 360 on the boil-eddy line and make it through just fine. Turns out she taught ballet in NYC for her whole life and used to do some professional dancing there as well. She knew how to use her body and was a great paddler. I had her be my lead paddler after that as she set a great pace and she had a blast. We did the whole trip together and it is one of my favorite memories of many great ones guiding.

Thanks for helping me remember this, haven't thought of her in a bit.
 

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That is a great story carvedog.

Goes to show that the answer to the question is dependent on the individual in question and the situation you find yourself in, not some arbitrary number.
 

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I brought both of my parents that were right around 70. We had perfect weather and the river was low at about 900 cfs. We had 25 people on the trip and (11) were under the age of 10. Very special time and great memories shared. It was perfect. Bring them as its a huge gift. Three generations floating Ladore Canyon. Priceless.
 

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Just had a wonderful couple in their 80s on a trip with us this last week. Wouldn't have missed it for the world. Those of you wanting to protect the "poor old people" probably should read Atul Gwande's book "Being Mortal" and reflect for a while. These are adults who can make their own decisions; talk about what is required, the hazards and let them decide if it is for them. We have all been on trips with people in "the prime of life" who require constant herding and attention - it's not the number of years on the individual that matters.

I'm hoping people will still want to take me down the river when I'm in my 80s......
 

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Just had a wonderful couple in their 80s on a trip with us this last week. Wouldn't have missed it for the world. Those of you wanting to protect the "poor old people" probably should read Atul Gwande's book "Being Mortal" and reflect for a while. These are adults who can make their own decisions; talk about what is required, the hazards and let them decide if it is for them. We have all been on trips with people in "the prime of life" who require constant herding and attention - it's not the number of years on the individual that matters.

I'm hoping people will still want to take me down the river when I'm in my 80s......
I'm hoping to take myself down the rio in my 80s.
 

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Hoping to maintain my skills so my grandkids (4 and 6 and already river rats) can be some of my generous young friends. :)
 

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My son is taking his grand parents (my mom and day) on a two day this weekend. early to mid seventies! I get to solo paddle!
 

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My mother has done 3 GC trips (2 were longer trips in March and April) in her 70's and is ready for another.


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My uncle is 69 and still rows his boat like a champ and skis...we'll probably camp next weekend.

Off the water he walks like an old man tho....
 
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