FAQs

SUGGESTED GEAR LIST

Do I have to bring both hiking boots and running shoes?

For most of our trips you basically need two pairs of shoes…one to wear in the boat (they will be getting wet!) and a dry pair to wear in camp. If you are joining us on one of our combination hike/river trips, or if you really enjoy hiking off the trail, a good, comfortable pair of hiking boots is essential. It is imperative that these boots are already well broken in! Nothing is worse than blisters from a new pair of boots!

Why must I have synthetic materials rather than cotton?

While on the river you will get wet going through rapids (what fun would it be if you didn’t?!). Synthetic materials are lightweight, warm, and dry much quicker than cotton. They also keep you warmer when wet than cotton. Comfort is essential to having fun!

Rain gear…what kind should we get if plastic and vinyl are not allowed?

Vinyl and plastic rain gear do not hold up well in the wilderness and there is no place to purchase emergency rain gear once we’re out on the river. Better to be prepared than wet and cold if caught in an afternoon rain shower. Gore-tex, waterproof PVC and coated nylon are excellent material choices for a rain coat and rain pants.

RIVER QUESTIONS

What temperatures can we expect?

We run river trips in climates with unpredictable summer temperatures that can fluctuate dramatically in a 24-hour period, from freezing at night to 70-80’s the next afternoon. Therefore, we must be prepared for anything. Long underwear, wool caps, gloves, socks, and a warm jacket are necessary in case of unexpected weather.

How long will we be floating on the river each day?

Each trip is tailored to the desires of the guests. Generally, about a total of 5 hours each day (give or take a couple of hours), broken by a lunch stop, along with any other exploring adventures.

Will we be at a new camp every day?

Yes, we do normally change campsites every day. This allows us to cover new scenery, rapids, and side adventures each day at a fun, comfortable pace. We occasionally spend a layover day at the same camp on our Middle Fork of the Flathead and Tatshenshini River trips to allow time for some awesome, more extensive side trips.

How will we wash ourselves?

The Middle Fork of the Salmon and the Main Salmon both have swimming and hot springs to soak in. In an effort to keep soap out of the rivers, we wash the old fashioned way…above the beaches with a bucket of water!

Do we have to know how to swim?

No. It increases your fun if you wish to take a refreshing swim in the Salmon River, but swimming capabilities are not mandatory. However, it is mandatory that you wear a life vest while on the river in a boat. We provide these.

If we say we want to paddle are we committed to paddling the entire trip?

No, we generally have enough boats that the guests can rotate and have the option to paddle when they wish. The exception is our South Fork of the Flathead trip, which is a paddleboat-only adventure.

LOGISTICS

Is there someplace to store our airplane luggage while we are on the river?

Yes, we can store your extra bags and make arrangements for them to be transported to meet you at the end of the trip. However, we do recommend that you leave any unnecessary valuables at home. Your wallet, airline tickets, & other valuables should be placed in a zip lock bag and taken with you on your trip.

When do we need to be there?

You should arrive in the town of departure the day before your trip is scheduled to begin. There will be an evening meeting with WRO guides and guests, where we will hand out waterproof gear and answer last-minute questions. You will head to the river the next morning (the official starting date of your trip).

How, where and when do we get our fishing licenses?

If you want to fish, a license purchased in the state your river trip is located in is mandatory. In most cases, our guests purchase them from a nearby sporting goods store upon their arrival at their lodging the evening before our launch date. If you have questions about fishing licenses, please call us.

Is there somewhere to purchase last minute items before heading to the river?

Yes, there are sporting goods stores located fairly close to all the hotels we recommend.

GEAR PROVIDED BY WRO

How big are the waterproof bags and how much stuff will they hold?

Everyone is issued a waterproof “day bag” to carry items you will need access to during the afternoon while on the river (sunscreen, camera, jacket, etc.). Your “day bag” is 9in. diameter x 20in. tall. Everyone is also issued either: one large bag (16 in. diameter x 24 in. tall), which will carry your sleeping bag, ground cloth, pad, and 35 pounds of your personal clothing. Or, instead of one large bag, you will be issued two smaller bags (13 in. diameter x 22 in. tall): one to carry your sleeping bag, ground cloth, and pad, and a separate one to carry 35 pounds of your personal clothing.

Do we need to bring our own toilet paper?

No, we provide toilet facilities and paper. WRO provides everything except your own personal clothing, comfort drugs, and toiletries.

What size and type of sleeping pads does WRO provide?

We provide your deluxe, self-inflating “Therm-a-rest” pads. These are very comfortable pads and fit very nicely in our gear bags. If you have any concerns, let us know so we can answer questions and do everything we can to accommodate you.

How big are the tents? Do we have to share a tent with someone else?

All of our tents are three-person, North Face tents. We only put two people in each tent. If there is an odd number in your group we will not make you sleep with a stranger. We also have single-person tents available on request.

MENU QUESTIONS

What kind of food will we be eating?

Wonderful, marvelous, gourmet cooking! Boy can our guides cook! Breakfasts and suppers consist of culinary delights whipped up in dutch ovens and over open campfires. Lunches are a combination of tasty salads, sandwiches, fruits, and assorted snacks. Nutritious options are always available. Please let us know ahead of time if you have dietary restrictions so we can accommodate them.

Can we bring our own soda pop and snacks?

WRO provides ample snacks as well as plenty of drinking water, fruit juices, and coffee, tea, and cream in the morning. If you feel you would like to have pop on the trip, you may bring your own. Please do not bring anything in glass containers.

I am a vegetarian/lactose intolerant/gluten-free/have some other dietary restriction.

WRO will happily provide vegetarian meals and accommodate any dietary restrictions at no additional cost! Please notify us of any dietary restrictions or allergies as early as possible so that we can adjust the menu accordingly.

Sample Menu

Breakfast: Fruit, juice, coffee, and hot water for tea or hot chocolate served daily. Pancakes, bacon and eggs, or Omelets, ham and hash browns or Grits and Biscuits, sausage and gravy.

Lunch: Fruit and juice served daily. Roast beef sandwiches, pasta salad, pita and assorted veggies with hummus, roasted nuts, apples and caramel dip, dark chocolate.

Dinner: Steak and potatoes, warm french bread, and waldorf fruit salad. Lasagna, spinach salad, and garlic bread.

Desserts: Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Cheese cake, Brownies, Cobbler.

MISCELLANEOUS

What happens if someone gets sick or injured?

All of our river trips have guides with Wilderness First Responder certifications (an intense, 8-day training course), or Wilderness EMTs (First Responder training along with an EMT certification). We also have satellite phone communication and evacuation plans in place for all of our trips in case of an emergency.

Why are cell phones, computers and handheld computerized games not allowed?

Wilderness experience and computerized gadgets are not a good mix. We want to promote relaxation, enjoyment and enhancement of the natural senses and awareness of nature’s beauty by escaping the everyday stresses associated with our modern computerized world. It is wonderful to watch your child collecting rocks, trying to catch minnows, building creations in the sand and exploring the forests rather than sitting with a video game.

How old does my child have to be to participate?

Each trip is different. We generally recommend a minimum age of 8 years for the Main Salmon River and Lower Owyhee River, a minimum age of 10 years for the Middle Fork of the Salmon, a minimum age of 12 years for the South and Middle Fork of the Flathead, Upper and Middle Owyhee, and Tatshenshini, and a minimum of 14 years for the Jarbidge/Bruneau. However, we also realize that each child is an individual and we are certainly open to discussing your child’s readiness, as you know your child’s responsibility level better than anyone.

What if there is a family emergency back home? How will they locate and notify us?

If you have a family emergency at home someone should notify our office. Our office manager will then get in touch with the necessary agency (Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management) of your anticipated location and they will begin the process of notification. If you have situations at home such as very ill or elderly relatives please alert us before your trip.

How do gratuities for the guide work?

Guides are generally tipped 10-15% of the trip cost, and they equally split the total tip amount from guests. The guides are most appreciative to receive this directly from the guest, either at the end of your trip or when a farewell dinner is possible, so you might want to plan to have some cash on hand. We recommend your wallet and other valuables be stored at the bottom of your duffel.