Where can a kid discover rafting?
Question: Do you know of a good place for river rafting as an introduction for young children (age 7)?
Al BoracciAdventure Adviser: There's an abundance of rivers that are perfect for neophyte paddlers, even without traveling to far-flung locales like Utah or New Mexico. Instead, head to West Virginia's Upper New River. There you'll find plenty of long, gentle Class I (flatwater interspersed with small riffles) and Class II (occasional bursts of thrill-injecting rapids) water. Outfitters on Class II rivers usually set a minimum age of 5, which goes to show that neither you nor your youngster are likely to take a spill overboard. But if you do, you're at very little risk for injury. Class III water, of which there are a few stretches on the Upper New, generally demands the weight, size, and swimming abilities of at least a 7-year-old. Either way, you and yours should feel right at home on the 40-mile section of pristine river that flows through Prince Canyon, Grand View Canyon, and Surprise Canyon. For a laid-back first-time experience, outfitters will tailor a full-day run to the season. Or you can sign on for one of the only overnight raft trips in the East. Most companies on the river have a variety of craft--from no-effort, oar-powered rafts to paddle rafts to self-bailing, inflatable kayaks. A couple of good outfits to consider: Class IV (don't be put off by the name) River Runners (304-574-0704), ACE Whitewater (800-787-3982), and North American River Runners (800-950-2585). For additional ideas across the country, check out "At Play in the Spray" in Outside's summer 1996 Family Vacation Guide.
Wappinger Falls, NY