Things To Bring On A River Trip

River Extras: Things to bring that will make your trip a little better

Figuring out what to bring on a river trip can be tough. Following the pack list is a great place to go for the essentials, but there are a few things not on the pack list that might make your trip a bit more spectacular.

Rain Gear

Okay this is cheating a bit because it’s on the pack list, but you are going to want a rain jacket and rain pants.  It’s the most common thing people don’t bring and wish they had. You may say “it doesn’t rain in the desert” or “I checked the forecast,” and be tempted not to bring a raincoat, but the desert environment of Dinosaur National Monument means that while storms are few and far between, the place seems to give up when it starts to rain and the sky bursts into a biblical downpour, sometimes lasting for hours. However, the Monument is kind to its guests, understanding that you are now cold and wet and as a thank you, it often cries waterfalls down the steep sandstone, easily one of the most beautiful things you have ever seen. A good raincoat and pants, not a poncho, will make it more pleasant for you to enjoy the uncommon beauty of the monument.


A Star Map or Book of Mythology

Dinosaur is the darkest national park or monument in the country, the canyon walls stretch high above, pointing at a billion stars you’ve never seen, twisting your mind towards a story you half remember of a Greek Myth.  A Star Map or book of myths will help you remember these stories and identify which stars belong to each constellation.

 

Musical Instrument

Instruments are a wonderful addition to a campfire. If you have a case you are comfortable putting it in we can find a way to waterproof most things… maybe not a cello, but bring along your guitar, trumpet, ukulele or violin and serenade us for an evening. Don’t worry about your skill level either, everything sounds better next to the river.

Pro Tip: Bring along a song book with lyrics and notes just in case you forget the words- remember, there won’t be any internet.

Music’s not your thing?  Bring along whatever you happen to be a lover of poetry, prose, watercolors or interpretive dance. Seriously, we have had guests read poems at the fire for hours. You’ll have a captive audience so give us a show!

Dress Up

Huh? Yep, costume parties are known to happen, so if you’ve recently found a velvet green trench coat with matching tutu at your local thrift store, bring it along. You might have the opportunity to show it off. If you aren’t a costume person, or don’t have one, don’t worry about it! Your guides will likely have a stash to share.

 Volleyball/Frisbee/Soccer Ball

Many of the camps and beaches along the way are perfect for a game of ultimate Frisbee, or a make shift game of Volleyball. If there are a few minutes to kill, you’ll likely be able to coerce at least a few guides to play with you. Just be careful not to lose the ball in the river, and be ready for some serious smack talk from the guides.

  Anything you think you might want

While this is a backcountry trip it isn’t a backpacking trip. If there is anything you are on the fence about bringing, feel free to ask, but chances are we will tell you to bring it along. The boats are blessed with Mary Poppins Magic, so trust us, we can find a place for it.


Unplugging, What to Expect

Unplugging, What to Expect

One of the greatest perks of going on a river rafting trip is the lack of cell phone service and internet connection. Today the average American spends over 10 hours looking at a screen every day and the rise of social media is linked with a rise in mental health disorders among teens. Being unplugged is many guests favorite part of the trip, but it can also be nerve wrecking. Not to worry, you aren’t alone in your fears, and we promise it will all be worth it.

The Anticipation:

Like a college freshman walking into their dorm room for the first time you are filled with questions, nervous, but also excited. What will it be like? It’s the first time my whole family has been unplugged. Maybe I will have service…? Will the internet miss me?

I hate to burst your bubble, but the internet will not miss you. The world of social media will go on to fight another day without you. We recommend you leave your phones in the car (it will make your withdrawals end sooner). Prepare by digging out your old IPod classic and speaker, find a good camera, a deck of cards, and that book you have been wanting to read. If you must bring your phone download a few extra Spotify playlists and delete a few games to make sure there is plenty of room for photos.

But what if something happens while I’m gone!? Not to worry, your guides carry a satellite deivice called an “In-Reach” for emergencies.  This means that if something happens in the real world and you NEED to know about immediately, you will. But please keep in mind this is for emergencies only, not to check the score of the Pat’s game.

The Withdrawals:  

You are on your way. Your family is lounging in the summer sun, half listening to your guide chatter about the history of Dinosaur National Monument and how old the rocks are, gazing at the beautiful canyon before you. You’re finally breathing easy when your oldest child pulls out his phone to take a snapchat. He realizes that there’s a snap unloaded on his phone. Panic sets in. They weren’t lying, there is no service. Your kids ask at every bend, “Is there service here?” staring at a screen missing the most spectacular views you have ever seen. You’re telling your children to relax and just enjoy the movement and secretly you are wishing you could check Twitter. 

The Awakening:

Finally, at camp the first night you’re sitting in mesh chair arranged in a circle on the sandy beaches of the gorgeous Green River next to you. You pretend to read your book, really thinking about the day spent listening to your kids ask all the questions you wanted to…

The chairs around you start to fill and you put down your book to chat. The what do you dos and where are you froms eventually lead to someone asking “Which state has the largest concentration of dairy farms?” Un-googleable, it sparks a lively debate and leads to stories about your childhood summers spent on a dairy farm in Nebraska.

Enjoying the Moment:

All the chairs are full and you watch your children laugh uncontrollably at one another in the firelight. Everything seems to be at peace, a million stars you’ve never seen twinkle above you and silently, you realize that no one has mentioned their phones in hours. You are unplugged. The next three days are full of towering canyon walls, thrilling whitewater, storytelling, and debating which collection of stars is Cassiopeia. You stay up late, loving this time spent with family and new friends, pre-trip worries entirely dissolved.

An Overwhelming Reintroduction:  

You float up to the Split Mountain boat ramp at the end of your trip so glad you have unplugged, but just a little curious about what happened while you were gone. You hold your breath to hug your guides goodbye, tearing up a bit, equal parts sad to go and overwhelmed by the smell. Thrilled with the whole experience, you pile into the van back to the hotel. You pull out your phone and it starts to buzz. Bzzzz, bzzzz, bzzz. My God, it won’t stop! 150 group messages from the ladies in your gym class complaining about how sore they are, 30 emails from J-Crew alerting you to another 20% sale, and New York Times notifications roll in one after another! Completely overwhelmed, you realize you told everyone you wouldn’t have service until the next day and you turn off your phone, to enjoy the last few minutes of your unplugged paradise.


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