Compliments from two teens are hard to come by and I've planned a lot of vacations for them but was a little nervous on this one since they are getting harder to please. Our family of four visited River Expeditions in August, stayed in Deluxe cabin B for two nights and took advantage of the Terrific Tuesday rafting deal. We were also celebrating our anniversary so we chose to splurge on the accommodations. My only negative comment is going to be that the cabin isn't worth the $174 but the convenience of being close before and after rafting was a plus.
Cabin was immaculately clean. There are three double "beds" upstairs with a futon, leather couch, kitchen and bathroom downstairs. The beds are not real mattresses as I was told, more solid than foam but definitely not comfortable. AC unit on the stair landing blows directly on bed at the top of the stairs so we just put the fan on low and opened the small windows. Ceiling fans both upstairs and downstairs worked well but upstairs one was quite noisy. Shower is tiny but had decent water pressure. No storage for hangars or folding clothes, just three hooks upstairs for towels since there are no bars in the bathroom either. No problem for us since we were only there for two nights. Did not make use of the grill but it's huge, nice metal picnic table on the porch. Fire ring is located on the slope of the hill so would be tricky to sit in chairs and roast marshmallows.
Frig is very large, freezer is a good size but no ice maker. Didn’t make use of the coffee pot since they had coffee in the lodge.
The cabin area was not full while we were there, so it was relatively quiet. Camp store has most of what you might forget, firewood, bug spray, etc. Great prices for a late evening ice cream snack ☺
We found some fellow volleyball enthusiasts to play. Sand court is great but have extra folks around to shag the ball before it heads down the hill.
We opted not to pay the $20 for dinner on site, much better options in town (Café 110, Pies and Pints). Breakfast was included on our rafting day, sparse selection of juice, coffee, granola bars, fruit. Not enough to fill up before a full day on the water.
Now for the rafting adventure, the highlight of our trip. Our time was changed by 15 mins from the night before when we checked in but the kids appreciated the ability to sleep in and that also meant we were a “two-raft trip” which made the day even more customized. Our trip was schedule for 10:30 which meant we didn’t have to report until 9:30 to check in. That gave us time to fill out the paperwork, eat and buy sunglass straps at the store ($2.00 and an awesome rain jacket for $20 – definitely not resort prices).
We met Ryan, our trip leader, went through the shed to grab our PFD, helmet and paddle, and loaded up the bus for the trip to the drop off point. Drive was about 20 mins, which he used wisely to brief us, warn us, and make sure we were prepared.
Our raft had the four of us, plus two parties of two. Cannot say enough good things about Ryan. He’s a no-nonsense kind of guy. Got us in the raft faster than the guides ahead of us and we were on our way. Rapids were just right to give us a sense of adventure, excitement and thrill for the 4 or so hours we were actually on the water. Apparently the water level was so high, they were adding about 8 miles to the trip by putting in farther upstream.
My husband had a Go Pro camera and used a helmet that had a mount already on it. Awesome video of our adventures, close up and soaking wet. If you have one, bring it!
You definitely want to ask for Ryan Wines as a leader. He knows so much about the New River and the surrounding area, a true outdoorsmen who appreciates nature and respects the land. He gave us the added bonus of “surfing”, definitely the highlight for my kids. Surfing is when you head back upstream in certain areas where the raft dips and stalls in the rapids. Hard work but great fun.
Lunch on the river bank was quite the spread – lunch meat & cheese, super green lettuce, ripe tomatoes, potato salad, pasta salad, pickles, several choices of bread, fresh watermelon, chips and pudding for dessert. We rested for about 30 mins and then were back on our way.
We were sad to see the trip end but helped get the raft loaded on the trailer and took the short 15 min ride back to camp. We hopped in the hot tub, showered and headed to the Saloon for the showing of the video. Justin’s hand was a little shaky in some parts and the editing was a little off but he got the 10 min highlight film finished in under an hour. Disappointed that the complimentary wooden nickels were not good for any of the local beer even though there wasn’t a price difference (PBR? – bleh!) His pictures are great though, definitely buy the CD.
Definitely recommend this trip and we would love to return to do more biking & hiking. Camp store has a list of places to go. Sweet find on Bear Mountain – follow the directions to the overlook for a non-crowded amazing view off the beaten path.
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