Here’s what Chris T. from San Francisco, CA had to say about his trip down the Merced with 7 friends on July 10th, 2011.
The trip was fantastic. Everyone has been telling me how much they enjoyed it, especially the first timers.
The river was amazing, certainly warmer than we originally thought. Being split up in to 4 per boat was really nice, we saw some other boats out there with 6-8 people and saw they looked pretty crowded.
Howard was the guide of my boat and he was amazing. He really made an effort to get to know each of our names and always use them. At one point he was explain something and said “you two guys”, and then quickly corrected himself and used our names. I talked to each of the other 3 guys in our boat, and they all remember that. Also, he was extremely positive, every time we came up to a new rapid he told us we approaching some “fun” or “exciting” water. He let us all try different positions in the boat, and helped us work on our technique. He also taught us what we would have to do be able to move up to take on more difficult rivers. He had us doing 360s and jumping out and swimming whenever we wanted (I swam almost half a dozen times). He got use close to the other boat so we could splash them too. Even the other guides knew our names, and knew us as the interns group of canadians, it was all very personal.
We all used sunscreen at the start of the day, but today everyone has varying degrees of burnt shoulders at work. In hindsight, it would’ve been a good idea for us to pack the sunscreen in the dry bags. The other thing is we didn’t bring cameras at all, and we should’ve done that and taken pictures of the other boat. The pre-trip orientation was a bit lengthy, it would’ve been nice to have had some of it on the bus ride, because once we got the rafts in the water we were all itching to get out rafting!