I can’t even begin to explain how excited and nervous I was about this trip. For starters, it was the first time I was traveling with the 8-year-old ALONE. It was the first time he was getting on a plane. The first time we’d be rafting. The first time we’d be camping. The first time we took a trip of this type, ever.
It all started with our pre-trip meeting at the Hatch Warehouse.
We picked up our waterproof bags, got a short orientation to the trip and met our fellow rafters.
The next day we came with our gear and nervously waited to get on the bus.
We had a 3-hour ride to The Ladore Campground, the start of our river-rafting adventure.
At first we were really excited on the bus.
Then boredom set in and the 8-year-old got a hold of the camera.
Then he made a new friend over a game of Angry Birds.
We made it!
The views were gorgeous already and the trip didn’t even begin yet!
After a short safety orientation we were ready to go.
Once we were on the water I was in a bit of shock.
I simply couldn’t believe I was totally off grid, embarking on a 4-day adventure with my 8-year-old son.
After about 4 river miles we stopped for lunch.
Our guides took care of the food as all meals were included on the tour. This was one of the additional aspects of the trip I thought would be good for the 8-year-old to experience. You eat what is prepared for you or you don’t eat. That’s kind of my rule at home but it’s pretty hard to police the pantry as they get older. On this trip there was no snacks. Our first lunch was a fabulous taco salad or a boring PB&J. Guess what he picked.
Regardless of the food arguments, it was nice to see my son exploring the world.
It was like I was watching him grow and mature in real time.
That’s how it felt anyway, even though there were moments I wanted to wring his little neck.
Overall, the Green River was calm but there were some category 3 rapids.
One thing I didn’t anticipate was learning a bit of history surrounding the river. Apparently John Wesley Powell lost a boat here during his exploration of the river in 1869 and subsequently named the rapids Disaster Falls. I loved learning little nuggets like this and hearing the guides read a few lines from Powell’s journal.
After a few more miles on the river we set up camp for the night. This was our first experience pitching a tent!
Someone was completely exhausted but there was still so much fun to be had!
The guides set up a game of “Who’s Your Daddy,” which I can only describe as tug of war with strategy.
At dusk, a small group of us went on a hike to an overlook point and saw the most amazing views.
Being in this area is really awe inspiring. I felt so small and insignificant but in a very positive way.
I was also very proud of my self-proclaimed scared-of-heights 8-year-old for hiking fearlessly to the top.
He really enjoyed it, too.
Our first day ended with a little reading and sudoku in the tent.
At this point I could not believe we still had 3 fun-filled days left. I was really enjoying it more than I anticipated.
The next morning we ate breakfast, packed up our gear and hit the river again …
saw more beautiful sights …
and learned more history.
We also had, what my son called, “water wars.”
If you ask him, this was by far his favorite part of the trip. Each day on the river the guides would initiate a water gun and splashing fight with the kids. They all had a ball.
It was another amazing day on the water.
After we set up camp at our new site, we had an active afternoon of hiking, volleyball, and kayak/paddle board practice.
I REALLY enjoyed the hiking part.
And again watching him in this amazing place.
Anyone with kids knows you can’t express your love in words. This picture is the closest I can get.
The next morning we again packed up camp and got back on the river. I lost Ryan to his new friends, which was good for him and me. You may love them but, MAN, 8-year-olds can get annoying after a while.
Especially when all they want to do is squirt you with water.
That afternoon we set up camp again and went for our longest hike yet. Someone was VERY tired.
But all the whining and walking was worth it.
We took a splash in a VERY cold creek …
saw some cool pictographs …
and got to play in this really cool waterfall.
As I said in the beginning, this trip was a lot of firsts for us.
- First time the 8-year-old took a plane ride.
- First time we went rafting.
- First time camping overnight for multiple days.
- First time I kayaked solo.
- First time I paddle boarded.
And the first of what I hope to be MANY fun adventures with my kids — once the other gets old enough to join us!
(Doesn’t he look miserable in that photo? It was our last day and he was tired and sad. I had to beg him to take a photo with me.)
I have nothing but good things to say about this trip. If you want another view of our adventure, click here to check out the video I put together. Is it’s a great overview of our entire trip.
Thanks for traveling with us! :)