Who Should Raft: Physical Condition, Age & Health?
As long as he or she is matched with the most appropriate river and time of year.
Hank Jerome, IdahoSee All Testimonials
My brother-in-law is wheelchair bound. Bill, his daughter Stephanie and the crew brought a special boat and did things out of the ordinary to make the trip special for him. I do not think I have ever met a group of people with more honest compassion and understanding in my life.
If you are concerned about how strenuous a whitewater rafting trip…
may be, we suggest the Main Salmon, during a time of moderate weather and water conditions(mid-summer). The sand bar camps are easier to negotiate than the often-rocky shoreline of the Middle Fork camps, and whitewater is less technical. Our guides are ALWAYS available to provide an extra hand when needed-whether it’s in getting on and off boats, carrying a heavy duffel bag, or pounding in tent stakes.
We also have the option of staying in lodges instead of camping on the Main. We frequently have passengers in their 70s, and have taken people with physical disabilities.
We can often accommodate limitations more easily than expected. Attitude is the key. We have had people in wheel chairs on our river trips; one has been with us six times. For these passengers, we provide larger tents to allow a wheelchair to be taken inside, next to a cot. To ease toilet difficulties on these trips we carry a rigid framework to surround the toilet for support. We have taken some blind guests. We have carried oxygen bottles for those who need them. In these cases, there are family/friends along for support. Folding chairs and tables add to camp comfort. We can take McKenzie drift boats which have rigid seats to provide back support during the day.
It’s important to keep in mind that age is not a rigid indication of readiness for a river trip. A certain four-year-old may be more ready for river trip than a seven-year-old. Parents should be able to trust that their children will listen to and abide safety rules for their own protection. You should feel confident that if you tell your child not to go near the river or any other out-of-sight place without supervision, that he or she will remember your advice. We can maintain safe conditions in our boats, but will need parental support in keeping the kids safe in camp. Generally, if kids are old enough to go to school, they are old enough for a river trip in moderate conditions. More about River Rafting With the Kids!
One the other end, we commonly have passengers well into their ’70s or even over. Arrangements can be made for larger, walk-in tents, and cots to avoid getting off the ground. We expect to provide any necessary extra assistance.
Our river trips take place in a wilderness setting. We are equipped to handle minor first-aid emergencies on-site, but the care required by more serious medical emergencies is hours to days away. If you are concerned about your medical history, discuss the sustainability of a river trip with us and your physician. We can keep medications in an ice chest. Special diets can usually be accommodated with advance notice. We always carry a satellite phone for emergencies.
A river trip can be very strenuous, or not at all…
Depending on what you make of it. If you plan to paddle an inflatable kayak or participate in the paddle boat every day, your trip can become a very vigorous, rewarding experience.
If you are more apt to enjoy the scenery from an oar boat (rowed only by the guide) and relax in camp in the evenings, a river trip does not require a great deal of physical activity. Hikes and other activities are not enforced: anyone who feels a group walk is too strenuous is welcome to remain with the rafts during the day.
Swimming ability is not an issue. Life jackets are worn at all times on the boats.
Suitability also depends on river conditions.
Early June on the Middle Fork, when the river is high, fast, and cold, is not the place for kids, older people, or those with a disability. On the other hand, a moderate flow in mid-summer on the Main Salmon when the river temperature is in the 70s might be just fine.
Safety is our number-one concern at Aggipah.
We have had very few medical emergencies over the last 35+ years of operation–and most of those were pre-existing problems. By law, all guides are first-aid certified. A guide will always be available to address any safety questions you may have, and we will give a complete safety course at the beginning of your trip. We carry a satellite phone for emergencies.