Six Reasons to take your family on a multi-day raft trip
By Kim Cassels • September 20, 2019
Six Reasons to Take Your Family on a Multi-Day Raft Trip
Amanda Edmonds is an adventure mom, a go-getter, and a self-proclaimed dirtbag. Amanda and her crew are serious about getting outside when they can, which makes them the ultimate weekend warriors. You’ll find them in the desert climbing rocks, hiking in the mountains, and now, on the river cooling off! You may know Amanda best by her impressive images and authentic words on her Instagram account, @adventuringwithkids. Hear from Amanda as she reflects on her family’s multi-day raft trip on the Colorado River for a 2-Day trip with us in Moab, Utah.
Such an easy way to get out and explore with the whole family
Getting out with your family can seem overwhelming and daunting when you look at all the planning, risks, and gear needed. Having incredible guides from Mild to Wild Rafting & Jeep Tours made this trip SO easy. All we needed was our clothes, a tent, and sleeping bags! If you don’t want to bring your own tent or sleeping bags, they can even provide that! It was wild and luxurious – the best of both worlds.
We were in a remote and incredibly beautiful place, but amazing meals were prepared for us by equally amazing guides. This was particularly a treat since I tend to be the one to prep and cook all the meals. I had so much time to just be in the moment it was truly decadent. I even offered to wash dishes and was politely turned down. I spent all this extra time hanging out with my kids, playing, and truly relaxing. Taking out the necessary, but time-consuming tasks really made the trip a pleasure.
Family bonding time
Being on a multi-day raft trip puts you in close quarters, so you spend all day and night together floating, joking, and truly bonding. If you are lucky, you also get a guide who is an expert joke teller and entertainer. However, we turned the tables and ended up telling all the jokes… my 6-year-old proudly told her duck joke about a million times. The best part? It was funny every time. Not the joke itself of course, but how happy she was to contribute and how much it made her laugh every single time as if it was brand new.
In case you haven’t heard the duck joke, here it is: Why do ducks have feathers? To cover their butt quack. Okay, I’m laughing even as I type it – you’re welcome! We created so many fun memories on the river. Our entire family had the best time. I probably talked more with my 12-year-old in one sitting than we have in a while!
Of course, if you need a bit of space you can hop out of the boat and float alongside the raft or take a turn on the paddle board or duckie. Hopping into icy cold water on a hot day is so refreshing – I highly recommend it!
Riding on the raft, we needed to help our guide by paddling and paddling in sync. Sounds easy right? However, getting eight, okay seven people (let’s be real, the 6-year-old was riding princess-style in the middle) is tougher than it sounds. But never-fear, a bit of good coaching from our guide and some practice made us pros … almost … okay, we were mediocre at best! Fortunately, our guide had oars in the back and could have maneuvered the raft without us!
Over the course of our trip, our group of thirteen guests plus guides, many of us strangers and without paddling experience, transformed into a close-knit team. We developed a camaraderie and became friends. Our entire group learned to work together, guests ranging from 6 years old to guests in their 60s.
I was impressed to watch as my son went from struggling to successfully paddling. This helped build his self-esteem and confidence exponentially. Our guide also let both kids try out the big oars, and instructed them on how to guide the boat – with close supervision, of course! The guides truly seemed to enjoy their jobs and engaging with us.
Truly immersing in nature
Being on the river overnight and waking up to the sun is amazing. It’s something I think everyone should experience. You see things from an entirely different perspective and experience views only accessible by river. There’s something so peaceful about slowing down and floating down a river.
During our time, we spotted a family of river otters, countless fish, and even beautiful blue herons on the water. While at camp we saw frogs and several types of lizards. We investigated the different tracks on the sand from various animals and bugs. It was such an incredible immersive learning experience for all, no matter how old.
Getting the entire family off grid and away from screens was so easy when there was so much to see and explore. The guides had so much knowledge about the rocks, wildlife, and the surrounding area, which made it a great learning opportunity. They kept learning so fun, that the kids didn’t even realize they were learning – that was a huge win for me.
The sneakiest side-benefit from the trip that the kids didn’t even realize, was how much exercise they got! The best exercise is when you don’t realize you are doing it. We swam so much that my legs were sore from herding my determined 6-year-old swimmer. I swear she seemed determined to head straight into every rock, eddy, or anywhere I didn’t want her to go.
When paddling, you use both your arms and your entire core, plus every other muscle by just keeping yourself balanced and centered on the raft.
Even off the raft, the workout didn’t stop. We were constantly running on the sand, playing Bocce ball, and exploring the area. By the time dinner was finished, everyone was exhausted and happy. Bedtime came early for most of us – the sign of a good day.
Super fun unique experience
Before this experience, we thought taking a multi-day raft trip was completely out of our wheelhouse. We normally spend our time in Moab camping and exploring. Once we took the leap to join this trip, we realized how cool it is to see the canyon and area from an entirely different perspective. We saw things we’d never have seen from a hiking trail or from the road.
We experienced a mix of exciting sights and calm, relaxing water. We started our days in awe, marveling at the amazing red rock walls while getting cooled by the spray from the river. Our evenings were spent fireside with dutch oven brownies and great conversation with the guides and other guests. This was a great intro to rafting for our family – we know we’ll be back on the river soon!