Thursday, May 29, 2008

Best Rafting trips for Families with Youngsters

By youngsters, I mean kids in the 5 - 12 range. From raising three kids and going on a lot of trips, I can tell you that there is nothing more fun than rafting, camping, eating outside, sitting around a campfire, looking at stars, sleeping in a warm and cozy tent and just hanging out along a river. And miraculously, it seems like kids even enjoy being with their parents when its a rafting vacation with lots to do. And for Mom, its a chance to share experiences with the family and never worry about meals, or any of the other daily chores.

My favorite trip with kids is floating Idaho’s Main Salmon. The rapids are fun, campsites often on big, sandy beaches, the water is warm enough for swimming and there are enough side attractions to keep everyone busy and engaged in the trip. We have paddle rafts and kayaks on every trip so the boating is seldom dull. Very often a family with youngsters will join us on the Main and then a few years later, when the kids are teens, come back and run the Middle Fork of the Salmon with us.

Compared to other family vacations, going on the Main is a terrific value. There are no hidden costs, just about everything is provided, and you won’t be nickel and dimed by side attractions. For most families, the most economical way to do the trip is drive to Salmon and have your car shuttled to McCall where it will be waiting at the end of the trip. This saves on air shuttle costs and gives you a way of visiting other sites before or after your trip. We offer student discounts which will save additional money. A family of five will save $500 by choosing a 5 day instead of 6 day trip. We cover the same distance, just boat a little longer each day.

We’ve done a lot of family rafting trips so give us a call if you have questions or concerns. You might also find our Just for Moms web page helpful. It answers a lot of questions we hear from families planning to join us. Call us at any time. 1-888-997-8399.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Happy Birthday, Jo!

Jo Schroeder is a true local when it comes to the Middle Fork and Main Salmon rivers. She grew up in Salmon, ID, and began "swamping" for Idaho River Journeys when she was just a teenager in high school. 2008 will mark her tenth year as an official guide on both rivers. Happy birthday, Jo, and here's to another great summer!

Jo Schroeder, Waterfall Creek on the Middle Fork of the Salmon

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Social Network Galore!

IRJ Reminders and Updates:

Idaho River Journeys has a MySpace page at the following link:

If you are a fellow MySpacer, please add us as a friend! We like friends! If you are a Facebook user, you can find us by searching for "Idaho River Journeys" in the Facebook search bar.

The Middle Fork is spiking hard this week, up to nearly 8.5 feet at the MF Lodge gauge. Incredible! It is going to be a great year for water and we still have space on one of our most popular launch dates: July 24th.

Pre-season work has been keeping some of us busy. Bob Volpert and Tom Tremain spent last week in our warehouse looking over equipment and getting ready for the start of the season. Our first trip launches June 3rd and we'll post some pictures with a trip report once we get off the river.

The Main Salmon at the Whitebird gauge spiked over 80,000 cubic feet per second. Whoa! Did we say it was going to be a GREAT water year??? Yes, we think so.

Looking forward to the summer. See you all soon!

-Team IRJ

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Choosing an Outfitter

If there is one thing true in today's tech-savvy world it is this: a slick website can make anyone look good. Thus, judging one outfitter versus another via their websites can be a daunting task. This is especially true if you are new to the activity or haven’t received a recommendation from friends. Every season, at least one major magazine or newspaper publishes a “how to pick an outfitter” article chock full of softball questions that don’t accomplish much. With some time to kill at the Boise airport, I asked myself: What five REAL questions would I ask outfitters if I knew nothing about them?

#5. Can you send me your menu?
Any entree that contains the word “imitation” is a bad sign. Canned three bean salad is a bad sign. Most outfitters are proud of their menus and shouldn't hesitate to send it to you.

#4. If I can’t go with your outfit, who would you suggest I call?
Great companies don’t hesitate to recommend other great companies. The best ones are often full but still want you to have the best trip possible and will tend to recommend peers.

#3. What is your company’s policy about your staff using tobacco products?
Our guides do not use any tobacco products. We long ago recognized that on family trips guides were often role models and using tobacco was not acceptable. If an outfitter hasn't addressed this issue with their staff, I'd be hesitant to take their trip.

#2. What do you charge?
Be suspicious of low prices and curious about high prices. There are only so many ways to save money in outfitting. Guide to passenger ratios, guide wages (you want well paid, knowledgeable guides), food costs, length of trip. Prices substantially below the norm are red flags.

#1. What kind of wine do you provide and where does it come from?

In my opinion, this is one of the best questions you can ask and it will tell you a lot about the care and detail that goes into an outfitter's planning. Idaho is not on the list of the world's famous wine regions and I'd be wary of any company that touts them as being equal to California's. This is one of those attention to detail queries and deserves a good answer beyond “we serve the best from Idaho.” Even if you don't drink wine, ask the question.