The truth is, a multi-day river trip can be a life changing experience. It is the perfect arena for optimal personal growth: meeting new people, running a river as a team, delving into the wilderness environment where one has time to contemplate, challenging one's perceived limitations, experiencing nature, and breaking one's daily routine. It usually adds up to a lot of soul-searching... or, at least an incredible amount of giggling.
Generally, the first day is spent getting in sync with a new cadence, a new tempo for living life. Struggles and worries from the outside world begin to fade as you concentrate on the rapids to be maneuvered. At lunch you indulge in a cookie after your sandwich, just like back in your Elementary school days. You swear that tomorrow you won't partake again.
At the first night's camp, you scramble to get your "home" set-up, only to find that hurrying has no meaning here. We're all on "river time", which seems infinitely more forgiving than time outside of the canyon. Perhaps you read, you write, you drink a beverage and laugh with your fellow paddlers about the day's experiences on the river. Dinner comes and food has never tasted so good.
After dinner, you have the urge to go to sleep with the sun and crawl into your tent at an early hour. At some point in the middle of the night, you have to go to the bathroom, so you stumble out of your tent and groggily look around you. You are confronted with a blast of stars in the sky and you stare for a moment like a child. It is beautiful, but there is still a part of you that wishes you didn't have to get up in the middle of the night.
The next morning, you are amazed that something called "cowboy coffee" could ever taste so good. There's a crispness in the air that encourages loitering around the breakfast table with your coffee mug in hand and your fleece hat on your head.
Soon enough, you're on the water again, challenging your notions of what you thought you were capable of... finding that you are much more daring than you previously suspected. You swim a rapid-- for fun. You let out a holler as you crest the top of a huge wave. You stare at the canyon walls, wondering how hard it might be to climb to one of the crests to take in the view. You see ducks, geese, and countless birds. Lunch comes again and though yesterday you vowed you would not eat another cookie, you find that today it's easier to allow yourself not just one, but two. Back in your boat, you crash through more waves, more rapids. You feel comfortable with the paddling strokes now and you can tell your fellow paddlers are feeling that way too. Your boat is now moving down the river with sleek percision. You are able to handle routes that first-time paddlers might find difficult... and you feel proud.
When you pull into camp that night, you take a look at your tent and decide not to set it up. This allows for even more free time and you use it to hike alongside the river just above camp, stopping to peer into the water here and there. Dinner is called and though you are hungry, you loiter at the river's edge a while longer. At dinner, you're convinced the guides are all closet gourmet chefs. You have a great conversation with one of the other guests about the choices we make in our lives. It makes you think about how you could fit more downtime in your daily life.
That night, you sleep easily and long. Morning comes again, and this time, you're disappointed that you didn't awaken in the night so that you could marvel at the canopy of stars. Once again, your morning coffee tastes so much better than the Starbuck's latte you usually sleep though on your way to work. You talk to your guides as they flip omelets; you come to understand the different ways of crafting a life.
On the river, you and your fellow paddlers have become a superb paddling team. In one rapid just before take-out, the paddler in front of you is on the brink of falling out of the raft until you grab her and pull her back in. She gives you a smile, a sincere thank you and a high-five. That day at lunch, all you eat are cookies and you don't feel the least bit guilty about it. At take-out, you help carry the boat up to the bus, feeling strong and new. Fresh and exciting.
Back at your car, everyone exchanges hugs and a few email addresses, promising the guides you're going to come back again as soon as you can. And you mean it.
That night, before climbing into your fluffy bed, you drink three glasses of water... just so somewhere around midnight, you'll have to get up…. and on your way to the bathroom, you can lean out of your window and, once again, stare at the stars.
***** It's this cadence of life, this opportunity to spend extra time in the canyon that convinces so many people to take multi-day rafting trips. And it is the reason we, as guides, love the experience as well. We have so much more time to get to know you on extended trips. That is a pleasure all of its own. If you'd like to experience a little of this kind of peace as well, call our office staff and ask them about our multi-day trips 1-800-247-2387.
Or check out our summer multi-day trip options We offer multi-day trips on the following rivers...
South Fork American: Beginner, Class III
Middle Fork American: Intermediate, Class III - IV
Merced River: Intermediate, Class III - IV
Main Tuolumne: Intermediate-Advanced, Class IV+
North Fork Stanislaus River: Intermediate-Advanced, Class IV+
Kaweah River: Intermediate-Advanced, Class IV+
North Fork American River: Intermediate-Advanced, Class IV+
California Salmon River: Advanced, Class V