A great experience from put-in to take-out
By Molly • June 21, 2021
My fiancé and I chose to do a 3-night/4-day trip in Cataract Canyon as our “bachelor/bachelorette” trip prior to our wedding.
Starting with our introduction to Jesse, who was kind and knowledgeable, we knew we’d have a good experience. The next day we hit the river, joined by a family of 4 on summer vacation. Jesse facilitated bonding between us and the family, providing conversation on the river and activities on land.
We were also joined by Scotty, an up-and-coming guide, who was Johnny-on-the-spot, always jumping ahead to do the next task required to facilitate the trip, support our comfort, or otherwise keep things moving. Some of this day was intended to rely on the boat’s motor, but the motor was acting up. We didn’t mind, actually preferring the quiet of paddling, and were able to paddle ourselves in “ducky” inflatable canoes which was very enjoyable. Scotty and Jesse prepared a delicious dinner including guacamole toast and fresh salmon, totally surpassing expectations of camping food!
On the second day, we connected with a couple more boats and guides who were hosting a large bachelor party of 10 guys who had been drinking since sunrise. Thankfully they were more humorous than annoying, and again we were able to spend time in our own boats to continue our relaxing experience. There was a lot more motoring this day than we would have preferred, but the trip was broken up by lots of dips in the river, a couple hikes featuring petroglyphs and ancient structures. Across the board, the guides (Jesse, Scotty, Zulu, Erin, Levi) were full of facts and insights about the history, nature, and evolution of the area.
Day three had the most thrilling rapids. On this day, the boats were reconfigured, including one boat upon which all the guests got to paddle. Honestly, this was the only way I had previously experienced rafting, and was more to my expectations. I feel that paddling yourself, in addition to being more active, is far more thrilling than just being a passenger. It’s a unique feeling to be paddling intensely at the direction of the guide, only to find your paddling air as the boat passes over a huge hole in the water.
Picnic and overnight spots are somewhat random, depending on where other tours have staked a claim that day, and some of the camping spots were new to the guides. Every day, they were gorgeous and comfortable. The guides always found a reasonable spot to set up the kitchen and the toilet, giving plenty of space for guests to set up camping.
On the fourth day, we again spent a lot of time in a ducky, but we also had to ensure that the group arrived at the end on time, so we spent some time motoring. Jesse made sure that our boat was tethered to the main boat in such a way to reduce the drone of the motor.
We had a top-notch experience with Mild to Wild. We skewed toward wild, at our request. Every step of the way, the guides sought insight into what would make our trip amazing, provided insight into what we were seeing and experiencing, and maintained a healthy attitude toward safety, keeping us comfortable all along the river. It’s a rare occasion for us to splurge on a guided experience like this, but when we do it again, we will absolutely consider Mild to Wild first!