We selected Noah's Ark Whitewater Rafting (NAWR) based on the high tripadvisor rating. We opted for a half day trip, and while we had an enjoyable time on the water, it certainly wasn't a 5 star trip.
First, here's the good:
* safety: I believe safety was important to everyone at NAWR.
* staff: the staff tried to make this an enjoyable experience for everyone.
* the river: great, but this isn't unique to NAWR.
Now for missed opportunities:
* We visited NAWR during a high flow time, so our 2 to 3 hour adventure took 1 hour 23 minutes.
* NAWR was not worried about efficiently getting us into the water. After checking in at 8:00am it took 2 hours and 7 minutes to get into the river. A lot of this time was spent standing in direct sunlight. At least have your safety talks and wait time in the shade.
* After getting strapped uncomfortably tightly into PFDs, we spent 15 minutes STANDING.
* With this much waiting, water should have been provided. Or--at the least--freely available.
* After getting out of the water, we again waited while NAWR's staff deflated and loaded boats onto a trailer. This time, some of us were cold from the water!
* Returning to the outfitter's site, NAWR asked that we help the guides hang and sort rental gear. When we got to the correct place, no guides were to be found. This was, to say the least, annoying. We did our best to do what they had asked, but didn't sweat the details...
* during the trip, the guides pointed out interesting rock formations. I'd have preferred history of the river, ecology, almost anything.
* On the bus ride back, the staff tried to entertain us with comedy. It did not work for me.
A comment regarding cost: basic cost does NOT include wet suits, boots, or splash jackets. When you cost compare, keep this in mind.
In hindsight, I think we could have had a better experience with a smaller outfitter for the same cost.
In summary, NAWR got the big details of safety and river correct. For that they earn 3 stars (almost anyone can provide this opportunity just following the state's guidelines). For making me stand around for 2 hours with children, they lose one off them.
To earn 5 stars, they needed to pay attention to the details. In the future, I will NOT use or recommend NAWR.
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