Monday, August 16, 2010
So, when a group we know told me they were taking a day trip down the Sacramento River, and invited us along, I told them that we were all over the chance. The Sacramento River is just a wee little mountain creek / river thing above Lake Shasta, but below Shasta Dam, it is a wide and flowing mass of really cold water. And, I do mean really, really cold. The water comes from the bottom of the lake so it is more than a might bit brisk. But, that worked out fine, as the air temperature was in the high 90's. I wouldn't recommend submerging in the frigid water, but for splashing and water fights, it was fun and refreshing. The pace of the river was also leisurely and relaxed, with only a few semi-fast moving sections to keep you paying attention- perfect for taking a bunch of kids down a river.
In any case, we did keep our life vests on, and we managed to avoid the tree in the river and smashing into bridges. We didn't flip the rafts, and best of all, no one died. We did have a small problem when we tried to get ahead of the other raft in our group and hide in a cove in order to attack them with water cannons as they rounded the bend. We failed miserably at making it into the first few coves because our team paddling skills were not very advanced, and the coves happened to be at one of the few faster flowing sections of water. Then, when we finally got over into a cove, we underestimated how close the branches would be to our heads, and we sort of briefly got tangled up in tree branches and blackberry bushes. Thankfully, we didn't pop the raft and die.
We were able to harvest a few tasty and fresh ripe blackberries, although most were hidden behind thick spider webs, and none of us wanted to reach past the glaring occupants. We were also treated to some fabulous views of nature and the fancy riverfront homes.
One big home we floated past had a friendly little sign facing the river that said "Warning- We DO NOT call 911." Nice. Apparently, had we gotten into any of those situations we were warned about, those people wanted us to know that we'd better get ourselves out of the trouble, because they were not going to be of any help. We wondered what they would say if we did need help? "Too bad for you! It's not my problem you're drowning! Maybe, next time, you should listen to the raft rental guy...if you don't die." Who knows, maybe they were related to him. Our whole boat had a good laugh at their shared bad attitudes anyway.
It took us a couple of hours to reach our destination. We had plenty of time to observe fish, birds and nests, plants and trees along the river, as well as to have several water fights with our rival boat. All that sunshine and water naturally made us hungry, so we laid in the shade along the river bank at the end our trip eating snacks while waiting for the raft company to send the bus to take us and our gear back to our cars. The driver was a chatty fellow who actually seemed to like his job and his customers, and told us all about some local birds and other wildlife. His happiness was refreshing, and a nice finish to a very peaceful day. We saw a completely different side of the river and much more of its beauty while floating leisurely down it in a boat instead of driving past it on the highway at 65 miles an hour.
My husband has been talking about taking a several day raft / camp trip sometime, and now the kids are even more excited about the idea. I have a feeling we'll be reading Huck Finn again soon, and that more water adventures will be in our future.
Any ideas or suggestions for kid friendly water fun?