Questions on River Rafting | Green River Family trips | Utah Family Adventure Vacations - Sheri Griffith Expeditions

FAQFrequently Ask Questions

Do you have a question or concern that you would like to see addressed? E-mail us at info@GriffithExp.com and we’ll respond as soon as possible.

If you are preparing for your first river trip, or your tenth, a day trip or a multi-day trip, you want to be ready to have a good time. Having the appropriate gear can play a critical part. There are also a ton of questions you may have about packing, logistics and safety. Through years of experience, our staff has compiled a list of frequently asked questions and concerns from previous guests.  Many of our answers are dependent on the water level and time of year.  The rafting minimum age is dependent on social considerations and on the difficulty of each particular section of the river.  For up-to-date information on rafting minimum ages, please contact us at 1-800-332-2439 or info@griffithexp.com  We look forward to seeing you on the river!

 

What kind of people take river trips?
People who want to play outdoors! People who want to enjoy the outdoors without all the pre-planning, buying gear, figuring it out, and having to work at getting comfortable in nature. Our guests come from a broad spectrum of backgrounds, careers, ages and experiences. Ages vary from 5 years to 90 years old. Experience ranges from never camped before to grew up in the wilderness.

Do you have age restrictions?

Here is a list of our suggested ages for the whitewater rafting trips that we offer.  All ages are suggestions, and can vary dependent upon water levels and other conditions.

Ages 5 and Up      

  • Fisher Towers Family Trip on the Colorado River
  • Desolation Canyon Family Trip on the Green River

Ages 8 and Up

  • Gates of Lodore on the Green River

Ages 10 and Up

  • Westwater Canyon on the Colorado River
  • Cataract Canyon on the Colorado River*
  • Yampa River Trips

*Ages 12 and Up

  • High-Water Cataract Canyon Trips (Late May and Early June)

On the upper end of the age spectrum, as long as you are in good health and are relatively mobile, you should have a great time on any of our rafting trips. Please reference our Essential Eligibility Criteria for more information.  Most of the hikes require moderate physical exertion, but all are optional.  If the water levels are significantly abnormal in any given year and we feel that your vacation could be adversely affected, we may contact you with other possible rafting options.

How Safe is my trip?

Our trips take place in wilderness environments where rivers, weather and wildlife can be unpredictable. Our primary goal is to minimize risk but there are inherent risks that cannot be entirely avoided without changing the nature of an outdoor adventure. Our trips involve physical exertion and exposure to the elements including cold water and the potential for heat, sun, wind, rain and snow. Each participant on an SGE trip must take an active role in their own safety. You will likely encounter wilderness conditions that you are unfamiliar with. You must pay attention and be aware of your surroundings. Even a non-life threatening injury/illness in a wilderness setting can become a major emergency and can alter the nature of the trip and potentially endanger the entire group. By joining one of our trips and signing the Assumption of Risk form, you are acknowledging all of the risks described in that document. Contact our reservations staff to assist you in picking a trip that fits your personal comfort level.  Click Here for information about additional potential hazards associated with a whitewater rafting excursion.

What Does Sheri Griffith Expeditions Require of their Guides?

Our guides are one of our most valuable resources. They are passionate about rivers, canyons and sharing them with others. Our guides go through an in-depth training prior to ever taking our guests down the river. Many of our guides have current Wilderness First Responder training (WFR) or Emergency Medical Technician certifications (EMT) and, all carry at least Basic First Aid and CPR training. We highly encourage our guides to obtain Swiftwater Rescue Training and, all guides practice Swiftwater Training Techniques during training each year. In addition to formal training in whitewater navigation and risk management strategies many of our guides have also obtained Food Handlers Training.

What are the chances I will take an “unplanned” swim on my river trip?

The probability of going for a swim varies depending on the trip that you choose and/or the vessel you choose. A person must be prepared that he/she may take a swim on any of our rivers (Whitewater or Flatwater). Those odds increase along with the rivers rating. https://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/Wiki/safety:start?#vi Boats can flip over or “wrap” on obstacles in the river resulting in a “non-voluntary swim” You can also fall out if your boat simply bumps a rock, gravel bar or sand bar. High water, which occurs due to snowmelt in the Spring or, water releases from upstream reservoirs may increase the probabilities of a swim or, the whole boat going upside down. These swims may result in long swims in fast moving, unpredictable cold water. It is important that you are confident in your swimming ability, and your ability to stay calm in the event you do become a non-voluntary swimmer. You MUST be able to play an active role in your rescue. A swim in whitewater is much more difficult and physically draining than swimming in flat water. Swimming in cold water can cause a gasping effect on your respiratory system. This can be overcome by focusing on your breathing and calming yourself down. While our guides are extensively trained and will do their best to rescue you, a rescue is greatly hampered by a swimmer unprepared for a whitewater swim or, a swimmer who fails to participate in their own rescue or, a swimmer who is unable to follow directions under stress. Choosing to join a trip with class IV or V whitewater rating represents a choice and preparedness to take an “non-voluntary” swim. You will receive a detailed Whitewater Safety Talk prior to embarking on Whitewater Trips.

What happens if I get sick or injured on a trip?

Our staff will assist you to the best of their abilities. We do our best to mitigate risks associated with outdoor adventure but, incidents and injuries that may require evacuation do occur occasionally. These evacuations due to the remote locations from medical personnel and/or facilities can take a long time, and be difficult and expensive. It is your responsibility to carry insurance, or be prepared to cover the cost yourself. We highly recommend travel insurance/helicopter insurance.  It is also your responsibility to notify SGE in advance of any medical conditions that may affect your trip. Please consult your doctor if you have any medical or health conditions that could impact your ability to participate in this type of outdoor adventure. A physician’s written approval may be required in certain situations.

What river equipment does Sheri Griffith Expeditions provide for Medical Emergencies?

All trips carry or have access to a satellite communication devices. It is important to know that these devices do require satellites and sometimes may not provide instant communication. Most trips will have access to an AED (Automated External Defibrillator). It is important to know that these devices are not guaranteed to save your life. In ANY medical emergency, access to advanced medical care may be days away. Each SGE trip carries a “Major First Aid Kit”. Individual guides will carry minor first aid kits. We recommend you carry your own small kit for minor injuries. Do you require a CPAP? Notify our Reservations Staff to see if our GOAL zero battery is available.

What river safety equipment does Sheri Griffith Expeditions provide?

River-related safety equipment includes; Personal Floatation Devices (PFD’s), Helmets (When required or advised), Wetsuits when appropriate or requested, spare oars, spare paddles, throw bags, whitewater rescue kits (For flips or wraps), boat pumps and boat repair kits.

Do I need to know how to swim to participate in one of your trips?

You do not have to know how to swim to go rafting. You should be comfortable in moving water while wearing a PFD (Personal Flotation Device) properly buckled and fitted. Our PFD’s are U.S. Coast Guard approved. We can accommodate up to a 56” chest size and minimum weight of 50 lbs. Your guides will instruct you on what to do if you fall out of the boat. As the river level (CFS) increases, swimming will become more difficult. If you are unable to take an active part in self-rescue, your safety may be jeopardized.

What is the water temperature?

Most of the rivers we run rely on snow melt as their main source of water. What does this mean? On early season river trips, the water can be very cold (45 to 50 degrees) Later in the season, the water can warm up to around 70 degrees. On rivers below reservoirs, the river temperatures tend to be a little cooler early season, and remain cooler throughout the season.(May warm up to the mid 60’s) Swimming in cold water can cause a gasping effect on your respiratory system. This can be overcome by focusing on your breathing and calming yourself down. Swimming in cold water will also take more energy and decrease muscle function than swimming in warmer water. For cold season/cold water trips we will have wet-suits and splash gear (tops/pants) available for no additional fee. If you would like one any time of the year please let us know.

What type of physical conditioning is required?

Due to the physical nature of this trip, we highly recommend that you engage in regular exercise prior to the trip to help ensure preparedness. We are not asking you to go out and buy an expensive gym membership, simple exercises and aerobic activity such as going for walks or swimming prior to your trip. Check with your doctor prior to starting any exercise program. Although, you don’t need to be an athlete, getting in shape will add you’re your enjoyment of the trip.  For more information, check out our Essential Eligibility Criteria.

What about camping?
Our camps are typically on sandy beaches along the riverbank where you roll-out sleeping bags, pitch a tent if you wish or sleep under the stars. Experienced guides help you make your camp for the night and for the inexperienced will teach you how to be comfortable in the outdoors. We host many people each year who spend their first night outdoors with us.

Sheri Griffith Expeditions provides:

  • Tents
  • Sleeping Bags
  • Sleeping Pads
  • Cots are available on a limited basis for a minimal rental fee.

What about Creepy Crawlers?
Let’s start with snakes! Snakes don’t want to be bothered by humans and are rarely seen. Most snakes stay high in the rocks and away from our campsites. With that said, snakes are still out there. There are tips to staying safe while hiking and camping, in their habitat. Check out the links below for more information on safety tips. Guides will also give tips on what to do if you see a snake and how to avoid them.

Insects are a part of the outdoors, but a little bug repellant goes a long way. Most insect come out around dawn and dusk. There is a higher chance of insect activity during highwater in the Spring and early Summer. 

https://www.nps.gov/cany/learn/nature/reptiles.htm

http://www.treksw.com/hiking-safely-rattlesnake-country/


What about toilet facilities?

The bathroom question always comes up, if not out loud, then at least in every first timer”s head. The toilet on the river is not much different than what you have at home. It could be one of the most beautiful views you will ever have while using the ‘facilities’. Here are five things to know about going to the bathroom on a river trip.

  • We bring a portable toilet with us. We call it the groover. Along with the groover we also bring a pee bucket. (both with toilet seats) and a garbage bag for items not intended for the groover. (i.e. feminine products, moist towelettes, wrappers, etc.) On multi-day trips, the groover is typically  one of the first things to be set-up and the last to be taken down. 
  • You will still have privacy. Although you are not in a ‘four walled’ restroom, the groover is located away from camp. We use a “key” as the door. The key contains toilet paper, feminine supplies and bug spray if needed.
  • When you are finished, we provide a hand-washing station set up at the “door”.
  • What about day use? If you require day use of the groover,  please let your guide know earlier rather than later as it can take time to find a spot to set up. During the daytime we ask you to pee directly into the river. Remember, privacy can sometimes be difficult to get, but is easy to give.
  • During extend hikes disposable “wag bags” will be provided for solid waste. For peeing we ask that you go “high and far” from the trail.

The first night of the trip, your guides will take you on a tour and give you instructions on how to use the Groover. Although our toilets have reflective tape on them, we recommend finding the location prior to dark and having a flashlight or headlamp handy.

What do I wear?
Focus on bringing comfortable functional outfits you can wear over again. (You do not need a new outfit for every day.) In general, this means synthetic, non-cotton materials that dry fast. (Cotton takes longest to dry in your dryer, it will on the river as well, and will remain the temperature of the river.) You will need some type of a river shoe that will protect your feet, stay on and can get wet. Bring clothes that you don’t care if they stain (because they will). For more information, see our packing list.

  • Protect yourself from the sun! It doesn’t matter the season. Make sure to bring a hat, with hat clip/strap (for wind), sun shirt/pants and sunglasses. (Don’t forget to protect your skin and lips!)
  • Cool Weather Trips: The key word is Layers. Dress in clothes that dry quickly. For cold season/cold water trips we will have wet-suits and splash gear (tops/pants) available for no additional fee.
  • Warm Weather Trips: You’ll need a swimsuit. (Ladies, two-piece suits make it easier to go the restroom.) You will also need things to protect yourself from the sun. Long sleeve shirts or sun hoodies (guide favorite) with long pants or shorts. Sarongs are one of the best things to bring to protect you from the sun and the heat!

We also have a store in our Moab river complex where you can buy t-shirts, sunglass holders, waterproof cameras and suntan lotion.

Can I bathe?
Certainly! We have a tremendous supply of water – the river! The water temperature varies on the time of year but it’s always refreshing. We recommend that you bring biodegradable unscented soap, it can also be purchased in our store. Guides can help you select a private spot for your personal wash-up. Some guests bring a solar shower for warmer water. We suggest a quick-dry towel for drying off.

What about the food?
SGE will provide and prepare all of the meals. We start with a snack on the first morning and provide snacks, lunch, dinner and breakfast each day. Our guides are great cooks who work hard to prepare high quality, healthy meals. We use a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. We take great pride in our food selection and use local sources whenever possible. We can accommodate a variety of diets when given adequate notification.

 

What type of dietary restrictions can you accommodate?

Beyond our standard menu, we can provide options for vegetarian, vegan and many allergy-restricted diets without applying a fee although we cannot always provide the same diversity for restricted diets. Please contact our Reservations staff to talk about what types of substitutes you typically eat. That being said, certain substitutes can be difficult to source in our location. We encourage you to bring your favorite snacks to supplement our provisions. Please notify our Reservations staff if you intend to do so. In any case, we ask that you notify us as soon as possible so we can best accommodate your needs. Last minute notifications can be difficult and sometimes not possible to accommodate.

 

Can you accommodate severe allergies?

We take allergies very seriously. It is important that you describe to us the exact details of any allergies you may have. Please notify us the severity and whether it is anaphylactic or gastrointestinal. Though we strive to, we cannot guarantee that cross-contamination from allergens will not occur during meal preparation.  It is not our policy to remove an ingredient from a trip when a guest has an allergy to an ingredient. We strongly recommend that anyone who has had an allergic reaction, be it mild or severe bring appropriate medications for their condition, including but not limited to Epi-pen, benadryl, etc. Your doctor can best advise you on what to bring.

What type of dietary restrictions can you accommodate?

Beyond our standard menu, we can provide options for vegetarian, vegan and many allergy restricted diets without applying a fee. That being said, we cannot always provide the same diversity for restricted diets. Certain substitutes can be difficult to source in our location. We encourage you to bring your favorite snacks to supplement our provisions. Please notify our Reservations staff if you intend to do so.

Though we strive to, we cannot guarantee that cross-contamination from allergens will not occur during meal preparation. We strongly recommend that anyone who has had an allergic reaction, be it mild or severe, bring appropriate medications for their condition, including but not limited to Epi-pen, Benadryl, etc. Your doctor can best advise you on what to bring.

What happens if I have to cancel my reservation?

We have a strict NO CANCELLATION policy. We strongly suggest the purchase of travel insurance to protect your vacation investment.  Please feel free to contact us at 800-332-2439 or info@griffithexp.com with any questions or concerns.

What happens if not enough people sign up for my trip?

We do have minimum reservation requirements on our rafting trips.  If we do not have enough reservations for a trip to be economically feasible for us to operate, we will contact you within 45 days of your departure.  At that time you will have the option of moving to another trip, waiting to see if others join the trip at a later date or cancelling your reservation with a full refund.  We understand that your vacation is important, and we strive to make your vacation as easy and memorable as possible.  If we cannot operate the trip that you have signed up for, we will work to find an alternate option that you are happy with.

I am a solo traveler, is that OK?

Of course!  Our guides are excellent at creating and maintaining exceptional group dynamics. We’re also excellent at helping plan activities before and after your rafting adventure.  On our Luxury tours, there is a single supplement to cover the additional cost of the hotel room.

Which airport should I fly into?

There are a few different options.  The closest commercial airport is Canyonlands Field Airport (CNY). Moab’s airport is 30miles from town center. We suggest renting a vehicle that you will be able to use to see Arches and Canyonlands National Parks or for other activities in the Moab area. There are shuttles available from the airport, but they need to be scheduled ahead of time. The next closest airport is Walker Field in Grand Junction, Colorado, which is about 2 hours away from Moab.  Another option is Salt Lake International airport in Salt Lake City, Utah, which is about 4 hours away from Moab. 

https://www.grandcountyutah.net/263/Airport

https://moabexpress.com/

 

Do you do anything special for birthdays or anniversaries?

Yes! We love to help our guests celebrate special occasions!  Whether on the river or when giving the river trip as a gift, we are happy to help you celebrate in style.  Please ask our Guest Services Staff for ideas of what we can do for you.