PRIOR TO YOUR RAFT TRIP
What is the orion river rafting cancellation policy?
Please be aware and understand that when a reservation is made and confirmed with a deposit it becomes an assured/guaranteed reservation. Orion River Rafting has committed to set aside space for you and removed that space or block of spaces from the commercial market. If you decide to cancel, it can be difficult to impossible for us to reissue and sell that space, especially in the case of cancellations that occur close to the trip date, regardless of reason.
With this in mind, we must firmly adhere to the following policies:
No Shows/Late Arrivals – No refunds or trip credits will be given for “no-shows” or late arriving guests that miss the trip departure. In the event of this happening, all payments are forfeited. Also note:· Orion River Rafting has never canceled a river trip due to weather conditions.
For our DAY trips:
For changes or cancellations within seven days of your scheduled trip, we will do our best to accommodate your request but make no guarantees as changes are subject to availability. Changes or cancellations within 72 hours of your scheduled launch time are not allowed and you will forfeit your payment or voucher. No Shows will not be rescheduled. We run the river rain or shine and have never cancelled a trip due to inclement weather.
For our OVERNIGHT trips:
According to the time frame in which you cancel, a cancellation fee will be assessed and the remaining balance of monies paid toward the canceled space will be issued either as refund or trip credit (trip credits are good for future trips with Orion River Rafting):
Cancellation occurs 7 or fewer days prior to trip date: 50% Cancellation Fee, 50% Trip Credit
Cancellation occurs 8 to 30 days prior to trip date: 25% Cancellation Fee, 75% Trip Credit
Cancellation occurs 31 or more days prior to trip date: 25% Cancellation Fee, 75% Refund
Cancellation fees, trip credits and refunds are calculated only on actual money amounts paid to Orion River Rafting toward the canceled trip space. Expenses incurred in association with your planned trip, or monies paid to third party vendors/facilities in connection with your canceled trip, are not the responsibility or liability of Orion River Rafting. Refunds issued are done so in the same method that the client payment was made to Orion River Rafting.
There are no exceptions to these terms. You may, however, substitute another person in your place without penalty. We regret that exceptions cannot be made for personal emergencies or illness. For this reason, we urge our guests to purchase trip cancellation insurance when making a reservation. Trip cancellation insurance is available through Travel Insured International, Inc.
WHERE DO I MEET FOR......?
Our guides will meet your group at the CASHMERE RIVERSIDE PARK. From Seattle drive East over US 2 over Stevens Pass to Cashmere, WA. 16 miles past the Bavarian village of Leavenworth. Turn right at Cashmere's first exit (Aplets Way). In four blocks, turn left on Cottage Ave (aka Cotlets Way). Drive two long blocks to Maple St and turn left. Continue on Maple until you reach the entrance of the Cashmere Riverside Park. Allow 2 hours and 45 minutes driving time from Seattle.
Beware of speed traps outside Cashmere.
For GPS purposes: 201 Riverside Dr., Cashmere, WA 98815
NOTE: The rendezvous location is in the PAVED parking lot on the WEST end of the park. NOT at the Riverside Center. Directly BEHIND the Riverside Center.
Our guides will meet your group in the dirt parking lot to the east of the Darrington IGA.
From the Seattle area: Drive North on Interstate 5 to the SR 530 Exit for Arlington and Darrington (Exit 208). Drive East 32 miles to Darrington, Washington. The IGA grocery is near the junction of the Mountain Loop Highway and SR 530 within the city limits of Darrington. Allow 1.5 to 2 hours to drive the 75 miles.
FOR GPS PURPOSES: 1012 Seeman St., Darrington, WA 98241
Please note that this is the address for our Meeting Site for the Sauk River and NOT our office in Darrington OR the launch site for the river trip.
Our guides will meet your group on the South shore of the Methow River along SR 153 a half mile from the junction of SRr 153 and US 97 and a half mile from the confluence of the Columbia River with the Methow River. Rest Awhile Fruit Stand is across SR 153 from our meeting spot.
From the Seattle area:
Drive US 2 East over Stevens Pass, or I-90 East over Snoqualmie Pass en route to Wenatchee, Washington. From Wenatchee, take US 97 North along the East bank of the Columbia River. Continue 52 miles to Pateros, turning West which you reach the junction of SR 153 and US 97 just to South of Pateros. Allow 3.5 hours to drive 195 miles.
Drive US 2 West to junction with SR 21 and turn North. At Coulee Dam, continue on to SR 174 West. SR 174 and SR 17 merge and continue West. Turn South one you intersect with US 97. Drive through Pateros and turn West on SR 153. in 1/2 mile look for us on your right. Allow 2.5 hours to drive 144 miles.
FOR GPS PURPOSES: 53 Highway 153, Pateros, WA 98846
Please note that this is the address for the Rest Awhile Fruit Stand which is across SR 153 and opposite of where we will meet you. We will be on the North side of SR 153 in a gravel pull-out beside the Methow River.
Our guides meet you group in the North Cascades National Park at GOODELL CREEK CAMPGROUND, which is 13 miles East of Marblemount, Washington, on the North Cascades Highway (State Route 20).
From the Seattle area:
Drive North on Interstate 5 to the Cook Road Exit just a few miles North of Mt. Vernon, Washington. Turn East on Cook Road and drive approximately 5 miles to the intersection with SR 20. Drive East on SR 20 approximately 59 miles to Goodell Creek Campground. Allow 2.5 hours to drive 115 miles.
FOR GPS PURPOSES
You may try Google Maps using SR 20 MilePost 119, or enter "Newhalem, WA."
Our guides will meet your group at a dirt road pull-out, also known as Nissan Flat by WA Fish & Wildlife, on the SOUTH side of U.S. 12. Coming from Seattle, this will be 4.9 miles west of the junction of U.S. 12 & Hwy. 410 --- OR --- BETWEEN Milepost 180 and Milepost 181 on US 12; from Tacoma, this will be approximately 3 miles EAST of Windy Point campground, assuming you are driving EAST on US 12.
FYI, our Meeting Site, Nissan Flat, is NORTH and WEST out of Yakima on US 12, and it is EAST of White Pass and Rimrock Lake.
Allow 3 hours, 25 minutes from Seattle and about 3 hours from Tacoma.
Is there a weight limit to go River rafting?
Yes. Even though rafting and paddling is not a particularly strenuous activity, if you fall out of the raft, we need to be able to haul you back into the raft. Our life jackets also only work effectively up to a certain weight. For these two reasons we have a weight limit of 275 pounds to ensure the safety of all participants.
Do I need to be physically fit to go white water rafting?
There are many ways to answer this question. The more fit you are, the more fun you will have river rafting. But you do not have to be fit like Charles Atlas or Rocky Balboa or Fabio. (That should cover most generations.)
On the other hand, you need to be able to take care of yourself if you find yourself unexpectedly swimming in the river. You need to have sufficient stamina to hold your position in the raft in the midst of crashing waves and short bursts of enthusiastic paddling. Or to hold your breath if dunked into the river.
For this reason, if you are suffering from physical ailments that require regular medication, paddling on a white water river may not be an ideal outdoor activity. Especially not a river that is running high on spring snow melt. Or a river that is technically challenging and is rated above Class III.
Asthma attacks, epilepsy, vertigo, heart issues, diabetes and pregnancy do not mix well with towering, crashing waves, frigid water, and vigorous paddling. A lesser, calmer river trip might be more suitable, like the Skagit River, if rafting is suitable for you at all. Getting advice from your doctor is always wise.
Many people with the aforementioned ailments do still go rafting, but, most of them, have maintained their fitness in spite of their ailment, bring whatever devices or medications they need and keep it handy and make sure they divulge that information – prior to the trip’s launch – to their guide.
Why does Orion have age restrictions?
Admittedly, our age policy is somewhat arbitrary. Some kids mature faster than others. Sometimes bigger kids are not necessarily better equipped from an agility standpoint than a smaller, lighter kid.
We ask that kids on the Skagit River – our easiest float trip – be, at least, 8 years of age. But, even on the Skagit, a boatload of nothing but 8 year-olds would not be a good idea. The Skagit is the coldest river we raft and the standing waves at the S-Bend require some maneuvering, so we request an adult to accompany a group of youngsters. (Two would be even better – the guide would make 2 or 3.)
On the Wenatchee River, we want kids to be 12 years of age and – approximately – 100 pounds. Part of the deal with the age restrictions is that younger kids have no idea whatsoever what sort of risks they are undertaking. This is even the case, in our opinion, if they have had previous experience on other comparable river trips.
Occasionally, we will make exceptions, but not without a thorough conversation with the child’s parent or guardian to be certain they understand the circumstances.
As a river gets more challenging, the minimum age rises. On the Sauk and Tieton it is 14 years of age and up, and on the Skykomish it is 18 years of age and up.
As river levels drop, in many cases, they become easier to navigate and rescue becomes simpler, and, as a result, we are more likely to bend our rules.
Think of the age restrictions as a signpost we erect in order to get your attention that the stretch of river we are rafting of such a difficulty that we are comfortable taking 8 year olds or 12 year olds or etcetera. If you are still intent to sign them up, please give us a call and we can talk about it.
What should I wear river rafting?
Washington weather is fickle and unpredictable while the water is always cold; consequently, Orion requires, provides and delivers wetsuits on all river trips with the exception of the Deschutes in north central Oregon and, often, the Skagit.
HOWEVER, even being clad head-to-foot in neoprene, additional river gear is often needed and strongly recommended.
At a minimum you should bring: warm, non-cotton, long-sleeve sweater and a raincoat or heavy windbreaker.
In addition, you might consider, depending on current weather conditions and the river you are rafting: gloves, socks, cap, extra warm top.
Remember . . . Layers are preferable to bulk for trapping heat . . . a windbreaker of some sort is essential . . . and cotton is useless once it gets wet. Cotton shorts to wear over your wetsuit for extra grip and a more attractive look are fine. When cotton gets wet, your body spends more energy trying to dry the cotton clothing than it does trying to keep you warm. So, once again, NO COTTON! on the river.
Hint: Wear a swimsuit beneath your street clothes en route to the river so that changing at the launch or meeting site will be hassle-free.
Can I wear my clothes beneath my wetsuit?
No. They are too snug for jeans and, besides, you’ll want those clothes dry for your ride home.
Why can't I wear cotton?
Your body does not generate enough heat to dry or counteract cold and wet cotton fabric. Ever notice how synthetic fabrics dry faster than your cotton clothes in your dryer? And since river rafting in Washington can be compared to voluntarily taking a cold shower every five minutes, whatever you wear on the raft is going to get soaked. Consequently, we emphasize that your cotton fabric, sweaters and shirts should be left behind. Synthetic fiber sweaters and shirts go by the names of polypropylene, capilene, fleece and synchilla.
What should I bring on the raft?
As little as possible. Extra warm clothes, an inexpensive waterproof camera and any medications you might need in an emergency — an inhaler, epinephrine pin, insulin. Water bottles are always a good idea, as is sunscreen during the summer months.
What about my car keys?
Our Guides or Meeter Greeter will have a box for your keys, however:
Ideally, you will arrive equipped with a hide-a-key already tucked away on your vehicle. Or you could hide your keys in a clever location about or on your vehicle. Or you could bring your keys with you, but keep them in a zippered pocket on an item of clothing which you will wear all day.
The least ideal solution would be to place the keys in the dry bag on your raft. Dry bags can be lost on the river and we do not want to be responsible for the loss of your car keys.
What about my valuables?
Leave them at home or hide them in your vehicle’s trunk.
Can Orion Guides accept tips from customers?
Many customers have asked us the question: "is it appropriate to tip your guide?". The saying goes..."if you enjoy your ride, why not tip your guide?". River guides tend to be very generous tippers themselves while not on the river so odds are those tips they receive get put right back into the community in no time.
Can I leave anything on the bus?
Absolutely not. Chances are the bus you ride to the launch site will not be at the end of the trip when you arrive. So, the short answer is No.
is river rafting a family activity?
Yes, depending on the Class of the river. Rivers are rated from mild to wild. (Class I to Class V) Our policy is 6 years of age and up on a Class II, 12 years and up on a Class III, 16 years and up on a Class IV and 18 years and up on a Class V. For Class III rivers and beyond, the weight minimum should be 100 pounds (or 7 stones). Of course, a river’s classification can change with the water level. (Usually, high water means more difficult and low water means less difficult.) Whether a river is suitable or not for your child will depend on level, weather and time of year, as well as class.
What kind of food is served out in the wilds?
On river trips, meals can be as elaborate as we want to make them. To begin with, all of our ingredients are fresh. Vegetarians will always have plenty of choices, even when we serve our ‘Seattle’s Pike Place Deli’ menu. The season’s freshest fruits and vegetables, chips, salsa and guacamole, and dessert breads are in addition to the main entrees which may include Mimi’s Southern tuna salad, Soft Taco or Redside chicken barbecue.
But, please bear in mind, not all river trips include a meal option.
Where do we stay on an overnight trip?
Here’s the good and bad news – we camp. . . in tents and sleep in sleeping bags on top of, relatively, thick and comfortable, pads. You won’t even find a Motel 6 in the great outdoors.