Family River Rafting with REO

In 2017 we camped at Blue Lake Resort with 4 other families. To entice our teenagers to join us, we needed an exciting activity. It had to be thrilling enough for the young and young at heart and safe enough for those who didn’t want to admit they weren’t either of those. After much research we agreed river rafting fit the bill. Safety was a key factor, we had some nervous swimmers and some even more nervous moms, so we needed to go with a reputable company. Based on location and company reviews we decided to go with REO River Rafting.

Being a large group we booked the activity several months in advance. The company required we prepay to secure our spot and we were happy to accommodate. Due to the kids schedules we only had Saturday open so we went ahead and booked it. Everyone was very excited and it seemed to get the kids keen to attend.

A ROUGH START

As the trip approached we were all very excited. A couple of weeks out we received an email from the company advising they needed to move us to Sunday morning. We had been bumped for a bigger booking and the sad proof money talks $$$. This was very disappointing because we had booked and paid for 15 spots well in advance and the only day that worked was Saturday. The short notice didn’t give us time to book with another company and the solutions they offered were not ideal. After several back and forth emails we agreed to a time that was okay and a small discount was offered. We were not pleased but there wasn’t much we could do, the kids were exciting to raft and the company would not give us a booking on Saturday. What was even more disappointing was that 2 days before our trip one of our group injured their back and when we called to ask for a refund we were denied. It seemed they were able to make changes to the reservation but we were not. Not very impressive customer service but we had paid and needed to make the best of it.

BUT A STRONG FINISH

Our first job was to get all our gear. The system very efficient and they had suitable sizes to accommodate all of us. Once we geared up we headed off on our trip and had 3 rafts. The guides split our group by size and by options of who wanted the front (wet) seats and who wanted the safer ride. Of course the kids all wanted to be in the front. The rapids were perfect for our experience level and the guides were competent and fun. We had time to jump in and swim, time to splash fellow rafters and time to paddle hard through the rapids. As most companies, they had an employee taking photos from the banks and each boat was able to purchase their digital photos. All three boats purchased the package and it gave us great memories and lots of laughs.

After rafting our package offered a light lunch of sandwiches, salads and plenty of wasps. We also had time to look around the facilities. It’s a really neat set up. They had a hot tub, great fire pit seating area and volleyball nets for those who wanted to partake. The company also offers luxury yurts to book if you want a 2 or more day excursion. Some of the yurts over-looked the river bank and were very enticing. There is quite a variety of trips offered; yoga retreats, various lengths of rafting trips and romantic get aways. The options are not cheap but they look like a lot of fun and the yurts looked very comfortable. If this is a vacation that interests you it would be worth checking out

Even though we had a tough start to our adventure I would still recommend this activity and with some reservations I would also recommend the company. They could have done a few things to provide better customer service and had they handled the situation better this might have been a raving rafting review. At the end of the day we all left happy, had great memories and photos to take with us.

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Shannon Falls Provincial Park- Squamish, BC – Hike Review

Hiking has become one of our favorite activities while camping and Squamish is the perfect hiking destination. We recently camped at Porteau Cove Provincial Park and while there we took a morning hike to Shannon Falls Provincial Park. This is a very popular park in part due to it convenient location, 60 km north of Vancouver and right off of Highway 99, and because of the number of hikes that can be accessed from this park. There is a public parking lot but it fills up fast. If you are planning on visiting on the weekend you are best to arrive early.

Shannon Falls is the center piece of this park and the trails provide spectacular views from a variety of levels. The trails are in great shape and very well maintained but each year climbers irresponsibly venture off the trail to get closer access to the Falls. Unfortunately many do not appreciate the danger of the falls and the results are sometimes fatal.

This park also offers access to the extremely popular Stawamus Chief Provincial Park. The park has rock climbing opportunities and although we do not partake in this, it is fun to watch the climbers navigate this challenging climb. Cycling is permitting on the trails making the park that much more popular.

We have visited this park a few times and enjoyed it for different activities. When our kids were young we took a picnic and the kids played at the bottom of the falls on the various rocks, wading in the crisp water. As they got older we enjoyed the trails and the amazing views. The park trails lead to the Sea to Sky Gondola which we have done twice. It is possible to hike to the top but our fitness level and motivation resulted in an enjoyable ride up the gondola.

PROS FOR THIS PARK

  • Well maintained trails that are accessible for all.
  • Well marked trail signs and maps.
  • Plenty of public washrooms some with flush toilets and running water.
  • Information centers set up during peak season.
  • Picnic areas with BBQ holders and picnic tables.
  • Concession on site.

CONS FOR THIS PARK

  • Crowds, Crowds, Crowds
  • Difficult to get parking later in the day.

5 things I didn’t know about my cycle tour.

IMG_2019Last Sunday I participated in my first cycle tour. Now I use this term lightly because in the world of cycle tours this was really a bike ride but I have the brochure that says “Fraser Valley Cycle Tour” and because that sounds a lot more impressive, I am going with that. The “tour” was only 25 km and flat so for me that sounded challenging, but for a cyclist, I get it, it’s a warm up. Continue reading

Whistler, BC – Things to do and see in the summer.

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riverside-receptionWhistler, British Columbia is one of my favourite places to visit in the summer. There is so much to do and so many people to watch that it is impossible to be bored. As mentioned in my review of Riverside Campground, we spent 3 nights in Whistler with 2 other couples all camping in RV’s.  We planned to hike, bike and enjoy the beach during this trip and we were not disappointed. Continue reading

Joffre Lake Hike – Pemberton, BC

Joffre Lake

imageLast weekend we headed out for a 7 day 3 campground excursion with 2 other couples. I affectionately called it the 7 day hike but after day one we were not sure we would still be walking. 4 of us arrived at Nairn Falls Provincial Park in Pemberton, BC and after arrival I explained my 7 day hike theme. As a group of campers who call bocci exercise, you can imagine how well received my idea was but they are all troopers and appeasingly agreed. Continue reading

Nairn Falls Hike – Pemberton, BC

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Hike number 2 on our 7 day hiking trip was Nairn Falls located just south of Pemberton. We had set up camp at Nairn Falls Provincial Park for one night so we needed a short hike in the morning before we had to check out. The hike from the parking lot to the falls is only 1.5 km so it fit the bill just right. It was also an easy hike and because we were all recovering from our Joffre Lake hike the day before it seemed perfect. Continue reading

Kettle Valley Railway Hike – Kelowna, BC

Blairs Iphone 498Myra Canyon Society mapPart of the famous Kettle Valley Railroad runs through Kelowna and is spectacular.

This 12 km portion of the former  railway goes through the Myra Canyon and is a great ride for bicyclists of all levels. As you ride, walk or run along the railway bed you will cross 18 trestles and go through 2 tunnels. You will marvel at the turn of the century engineering used to construct the mountainous railway and these amazing structures. Continue reading