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River Valley Blog


The Kindness You Would Give Your Brothers


Brian Megaw, river guide"Who hears the rippling of waters will not utterly despair of anything"

Henry David Thoreau

This year, 2014, marked 28 years that I have been commercially guiding people down rivers in rubber rafts. 28 years of stories, white water, friendships and sometimes, rarely, heartache and tragedy.

While there have been many changes to equipment in that time, and even a greater growth in skills, it is the changes within me that I am most acutely aware of.

At first, like almost all young river guides, it was all about the rapids. The thrill of white water. The camaraderie of working with other guides. However the longer you spend on the river, the more acutely aware you become of an almost spiritual element. You feel the pull of the river, and you feel a bond.

"The rivers are our brothers. They quench our thirst. The rivers carry our canoes and feed our children. You must give the rivers the kindness you would give your brothers"

Chief Seattle of the Duwamish

What does this all mean, this musing on a winter's day?

What it means is that one of the greatest things we can have our customers take away with them after a river trip, is an appreciation of the magic and value of clean, free flowing water. It is to touch them in a way that they feel they too, should become advocates for retaining wild and beautiful rivers and the creatures that depend on them.

Is this important?

No, it is so much more than important. It is vital.

Can we do this without lecturing? That is the hard part.

Brian Megaw

Posted by Brian Megaw on 26th July, 2014 | Comments | Trackbacks | Permalink
Tags: rafting new zealand, Rangitikei River, New Zealand, white water rafting, multi day rafting trips

Multi Day Season Will Be Upon You Before You Realise


Horse Riding Holiday North Island New ZealandMid July - half way through a Southern Hemisphere winter.

And wintry it is here at River Valley. In saying that, it is not anything less than what you would expect at this time of year. Winter will be over soon.

What scares me a little at this time of year is that many of the projects I was going to undertake - you know the great things I was going to achieve - during this quiet time have not even been started, let alone completed.

And Multi Day Season Is Only a Little Over Two Months Away!

That's right, multi day rafting trips kick off in October, with horse trekking over nighters a little later. There is a alot to do before that happens. Stuff to build, gear to check, and most of all, lots of organisation.

Now Is The Time To Start Organising

This is when you need to really get serious about booking. If you are thinking of booking a multi day trip this Spring or Summer, NOW is the time to get organising. Who are you going with, what river, what dates? Remember some rivers, such as the Ngaruroro in sunny Hawkes Bay also have real short seasons. Seasons lasting only 12 weeks with it all being over by New Year.

Let Us Help

River Valley has been operating rafting trips since 1982, and horse trekking for almost as long. We have built up an immense amount of experience in that time - the family having three generations of guides spanning those decades. We can help you turn that very special experience, which is a multi day rafting trip, or horse riding holiday into reality.

Give us a call, (0800 248666) or drop a line and let us help you pull it together.

Raft on the Ngaruroro River in sunny Hawkes Bay
Overnight Trip on the Ngaruroro River, Spring 2013

Posted by Brian Megaw on 18th July, 2014 | Comments | Trackbacks | Permalink
Tags: rafting new zealand, Rangitikei River, Ngaruroro River, multi day rafting trips, overnight raft and camping trips

Don't Believe That Beer Has No Place On A River Rafting Trip


Croucher Brewing ANZUS IPAYou know the ads on TV. The message being no alcohol around boats, followed by scenes of carnage as this simple rule is ignored.

We agree with this rule. Drinking alcohol while involved in an adventure activity such as white water rafting  is asking for trouble. However, after you get off the river is a different story.

In fact, after a day on the river, a nice cold beer, especially a craft beer, consumed once camp is reached can be both an incredibly simple pleasure, and a defining moment in what has no doubt been a wonderful day. This leads us to our new trip.

Brews With Views

This trip, a three day, helicopter fly in, upper Ngaruroro River, is scheduled for departure on the river on the 22nd November, with people being accommodated at River Valley Lodge on the night of the 21st. This trip is only scheduled to have a departure once per season.

What really makes this trip work however is having leading craft brewer, Croucher Brewing, on board. Croucher Brewing will be supplying a range of specialty beers which will be matched with some great food. Also accompanying the trip will be Paul Croucher, Head Brewer at Croucher Brewing who will be able to "talk" to the brews.

Who Is This Trip For?


This trip is for the adventurer, (and yes it will still be an adventure with 3 days (2 nights) spent on a wilderness Grade 3 white water river), who also appreciates great food, fine brews, and yes, some interesting company.

As mentioned above, this is the only departure for this unique trip this coming season.

Follow this link for further information - Brews With Views

I could propose a toast to that.

Brian Megaw

Baggage raft on the Ngaruroro River, Hawkes Bay, NZ
A gear raft loaded with all the goodies that means camping in comfort.

Posted by Brian Megaw on 11th July, 2014 | Comments | Trackbacks | Permalink
Tags: rafting new zealand, adventure holidays, white water rafting, Ngaruroro River, beer on the river, craft beer

Is There A Difference Between A Multi Day River Guide and A Day Trip River Guide?


Most of the last month I have spent in the USA. And much of that time was enjoying a bus man's holiday. In other words doing some white water rafting.

I was lucky enough to spend six days on the Main Salmon River and six days on the Middle Fork of the Salmon with OARS, and also spent some time in Coloma in California rafting the American River with American Whitewater Expeditions.

The trips on the Salmon were raft and camp trips while trips on the American River were strictly day only. More about those trips in later blogs.

What I want to talk about here is the difference between day trip guides and multi day trip guides. Surprisingly, I noticed a great deal of difference.

Day Trip Guides

The entertainers. You only have your clients for a short time and it is all about making the most of it. Training them quickly, thrilling them, telling them tall stories, and at the end of the day waving bye bye to them hoping they have had a fun exhilarating time. A Day Trip guide is often a high energy individual.

Multi Day Guides

The whole trip is different. A multi day guide has the care of their passengers 24 hours a day for the duration of the trip. That could be 2 to 20 days. The path to burn out is acting like a Day Trip Guide. Rather a multi day guide tends to let the scenery and the river talk more and themselves talk less. When they do speak however, it is often with knowledge earned from many seasons as a guide, and interestingly, often with solid academic credentials.

These guides also need to be able to cook great meals, often play a musical instrument, set up camps as well as guide rafts with a high degree of skill.

Multi Day guides are often older than Day Trip Guides.

Can a Day Trip Guide Become a Multi Day Guide?


There is little doubt that a Day Trip Guide can become a Multi Day Guide, but most choose not to. The appeal of being able to switch off at the end of the day and have a life away from rafting, rivers and clients is very strong. Most multi day guides have little interest in doing day trips.

What Am I?


While I have spent most of my 28 year rafting career being a Day Trip Guide, where I am happiest is being on a Multi day river trip.

A trip where the river and the canyons do most of the talking.

Brian Megaw

Camp scene on the Middle Fork of the American River, Idaho, USA
Camp scene on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho with OARS

Rafting on the South Fork of the American River USA
Fun on the American River with American Whitewater Expeditions

Posted by Brian Megaw on 3rd July, 2014 | Comments | Trackbacks | Permalink
Tags: rafting new zealand, adventure holidays, white water rafting, multi day rafting, overnight raft and camping trips, river guides

First Days of Winter


I spent the afternoon of the 1st June, and the morning of the 2nd of June on the Grade 5 section of the Rangitikei River.

The beginning of June is also recognised in this part of the world as the beginning of winter.

Up here on the Central Plateau of the North Island of New Zealand, winter means skiing on the mountain, days that are often cold and/or wet, and mud off track. However, not so far this year. In fact we are enjoying a run of sunny days, great river flows and warmer than normal temperatures - mind it can be a little cool first thing!

And so it was on the 1st and 2nd June - warm, sunny and great flows.

On both these days I rowed a safety/photo raft. Two roles in one. Providing safety back up where required, and in other places, photos where the action was nicely framed.

For a river guide, life does not get any better than this. For our many customers - they were having a blast!

See you on the river.

Brian Megaw

Raft in Fulcrum Rapid on the Rangitikei River
Sam in Fulcrum Rapid, early winter 2014. Beautiful day, fun flows.

Posted by Brian Megaw on 3rd June, 2014 | Comments | Trackbacks | Permalink
Tags: rafting new zealand, adventure holidays, Rangitikei River, white water rafting

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