Location: Gardner, Montana
Price: $42 adults, $32 kids
Extras: $47 for a disk of all photos taken (individual photos also available)
Military discount? No
Value for Money: ***** (5 stars)
One of the things that we love to do as a family is adventure sports.
OK, let me clarify.
One thing that I love to do is adventure sports, and I tend to drag the family along. 🙂
When we were researching Yellowstone, there are so many companies that offer family packages in rafting, horse riding, hiking, trail bike riding… it is a mecca for the adventure lover. However with all the other things that we had planned for the Great Road Trip of 2015, our budget couldn’t quite stretch to a multi-day adventure package. However a few hour trip was doable. There are several companies that offer whitewater packages in Yellowstone. We chose Montana Whitewater based on the recommendations on TripAdvisor. I’m glad we did!
They provided everything that we needed – in addition to the usual lifejacket, they provided wet suits, water booties, jackets, fleece jumpers (“sweaters” for my US-readers), and helmets. They even had helmets with Go Pro mounts already attached. This was a real bonus, because although we have most of that stuff ourselves, we really didn’t want to take it with us half way around the country for a few hours of use. Mark was a little sceptical about the need for such warm clothing, but on the day that we rafted, it was raining, the wind was howling and the river water was quite chilly. I’m glad we had the extra layers.
The put-in point on the river was a quick 3 minute trip from the office in Gardner, right on the northern border of Yellowstone National Park. The guide gave us a quick safety brief, putting enough humour it it to make the legal obligation interesting.
Jessica begged to go in the front, and our guide was happy to oblige, so she and Mark took the front row. We attached the GoPro to Jessica’s helmet. Melissa and I sat behind them. I got a paddle, she didn’t.
Within a minute of our put-in, we hit our first rapid. Whee!!!!!! It was exhilarating.
Then we hit our second rapid. Whoa!!!!! This one was a little more difficult. I think at one point Jess started to bounce out before Mark grabbed her leg and pulled her back in. Melissa scooted closer to me, grabbed the safety rope and screamed “This is AWESOME!!!!” at the top of her lungs.
By the end of the rapids section, we were grinning from ear to ear, laughing, soaked and very thankful for that warm clothing.
The later half of the trip was more of a float trip. Our guides pointed out various landmarks as we passed them, including the tiny Yellowstone International Airport. Apparently several years ago, an inebriated Canadian pilot made a crash landing there, so they can officially call themselves and “international” airport. They also regaled the kids with their jokes, leaving them in stitches. What’s a 2 legged cow called? Lean beef!
In all, we had a fabulous time. I only wish that we could have done a longer trip.
Oh, and that GoPro footage? Check it out! 🙂
The photos above were taken by the Montana Whitewater photographer and purchased separately to the rafting package. They remain copyright Montana Whitewater. Used with permission.