Why is a River Trip the Best Thing you Could Do for Your Family and Your Kids?

For starters there just is not a better family vacation out there!  We may be biased but hear us out.

Picture yourself on a summer vacation. A vacation in a beautiful setting, with your family and friends, where you don’t have to make decisions. Imagine a vacation where there is no arguing over activities, restaurants, or transportation.  A vacation where you can be together as a family but not have to spend every waking moment together.  What’s better?  On this trip, there is no phone service or WiFi and everyone is having too much fun to even miss it. Almost sounds too good to be true?  Well, that’s what our trips on the Middle Fork of the Salmon are all about. 

From a parents perspective you may be thinking how great it would be not to have to enforce “screen time hours” or deal with the constant need for technology our kids seem to have. However, have you thought about the last time YOU spent a week with your family without your phone? Being fully present in the moment is a gift both you and your kids deserve.  

It is truly a pleasure to see families disconnect from the outside world and reconnect with each other over the course of six days on the water.  You see a noticeable shift in individual guests of all ages but also in their relationships and bonds.  To see everyone rafting, fishing, swimming, hiking and playing games throughout the day and then coming together as a group in the evening to talk, laugh and share their stories from the day is super special.  The differences by the end of the trip are really hard to explain.  You just have to experience it for yourself. 

I want you to think back on your last big family vacation.  Think of how much planning, decision making and pleasing that was happening on a daily basis.  Vacations are supposed to be fun and relaxing but sometimes all of this coordinating and decision making interferes with mom and dad’s ability to enjoy the trip too.  On the river there is little, “what are we going to do today?” or “how will we all get there?”  No worrying about “where are we going to eat that the adults and kids will enjoy?” Etc. etc.  Instead you get to go with the flow (literally) and you can let us take care of the details. Your choices are more along the line of: should I fish or go in the inflatable kayak? Do I go on the hike to the waterfall or sit in the shade and enjoy some alone time? This lack of choices is one of the many things that makes this vacation special. 

The Middle Fork of the Salmon is a crown jewel of rivers and considered the “river that has something for everyone”.  Hot springs, great fishing, fun hiking, swimming, inflatable kayaks, rafting, historical sites, horseback riding…. the list goes on.  On a Helfrich Outfitters trip, you get to experience all of this while also having awesome food, fun guides, hot showers, nice boats and comfortable accommodations. 

“When I first started guiding, I was skeptical of how kids react to how kids would react to being on a wilderness river trip.  I thought “what are these kids going to do without their phones and iPads? Have these kids ever been without this technology?”  I was pleasantly surprised when they talked about snap chat and video games for the first hour on the boat and then never brought it up again. These kids who had a phone in their hand since they could hold it still went down to the river and threw rocks at our first stop, they pulled their cots out of their tents so they could sleep under the stars, they jumped off of rocks into the water. Their main concerns on the water were: when can we attack the other boat and have a water fight? And, asking me if every single cliff they saw was a rock you could jump off of.  I was blown away at how easily they figured out how to make the most of their river trip. After this trip I thought for sure these kids were special, there is no way every kid could just transition into a river trip rock star. I was wrong, I don’t know what it is about kids but they all know how to throw rocks in the river. Even the twin 14 year old girls who were supposed to be in Hawaii and their dad tricked them into a river trip (that actually happened) had an amazing trip and cried as we hugged goodbye because they didn’t want to go back to Los Angeles. I promise I was not expecting that ending after their first day and the fits I got to witness! To be clear, I recommend bringing your kids, I don’t recommend tricking them onto the trip. Maybe it’s something intrinsic inside of them, something that is in all of us still, but kids were built for river trips.” 

– Sadie King, Helfrich Outfitters Guide and Manager


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