Q: I know it has been really dry this summer. What happens if I go rafting and the water isn't that "good"? Do I get my money back?
Our guides have their proverbial dancing shoes on each and every week starting around Wednesday at noon regardless of the guaranteed recreational release. More water over the dam and through the spillway than originally planned is a welcome sight! Adventure is out there despite the weather.
All the rivers we run are dam controlled. That means regardless of drought conditions to date, there is a guaranteed amount of water being released as scheduled. This is called a "recreational release". These recreational releases are scheduled during the late winter months with a calendar and the amount of water in cfs (cubic feet per second) as public knowledge. So there will be water and it will be a fun whitewater experience here in northern NH. Structural repairs to local dams have only impacted paddling trips once to date as well, which is something out of all our control. This was the first ever reported breach of contract in the history of whitewater in the state.
Q: What happens if there is a thunderstorm? Is the trip cancelled at least 24 hours in advance?
A wise man once said that if a weather forecaster went "missing" every time a prediction went awry, we'd either have far less forecasters or much more accurate predictions when we watch the news each morning. Not a bad idea!
We have only had to delay one trip by 10 minutes due to thunderstorms. Our guides run the trips in the late summer with an eye out for growing storm clouds and approaching weather. Should weather chase you down the river, we climb into the bus and wait for a bit before returning back to an awesome adventure under safe conditions, which we have done less times than you can count on one hand. Our team works hard to ensure that each trip is family friendly and safe each and every run on the river without sacrificing the experience.
Late in the summer our trips often run in summer heat and humidity that builds afternoon and early evening thunderstorms. It is the nature of the beast, with weather predictions being 50-50 chance in the north country. We plan for intense storms by packing splash jackets and pulling out wetsuits, and find ourselves warmed by bluebird skies and an ever-glowing summer sun that beats down and compels us into the deep, clean waters filled with belly laughs and backflips. Needless to say the splash jackets stay on the bus and the wet suits never see the light of day.
That being said, thunderstorms and rain add more water to the riverbed for increased water levels and a guaranteed cool-off of all paddlers. Depending on the timing of a rainstorm, river levels can dramatically increase overnight with higher haystacks, varied drops, less exposed rocks, and more quickly moving rapids for even more fun. River conditions can change drastically within 6 hours of a storm, making for an amazing experience for all our whitewater families and groups. A solid class II/III river may turn into a VERY solid and steady class III experience from start to finish.
And yes, we'll still provide an amazing barbeque meal for you all, of course! We'll even throw in some coffee, hot cocoa and entertainment from our guides!