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A Look Back at the 2020 Rafting Season

Posted October 28th, 2020 by Gregg Armstrong
 

To the All-Outdoors extended rafting family,

First and foremost we want to say “THANK YOU”!

With your help and the help of our awesome employees, together we pulled off a short and sweet season when we all needed it most. All of us will never forget the year 2020 for many reasons, but thanks to you and so many others, the rafting season will always be remembered as a healthy relief in the midst of many difficult challenges.

 

Unprecedented Times

As with so many things in 2020, the rafting season was nothing like any in the previous 58 years. Since we began exploring and running California rivers as a young family in 1962, we have been through some very interesting times involving record snowpack and record high flows, droughts and fires, economic downturns and economic upturns, but we have never been through a pandemic.

In early March, several weeks before we were to open, it became clear that the corona virus was a serious situation for our world, our country, our state, and our local counties. We braced ourselves for an unusual rafting season not knowing if it would even happen.

A Rafting Season Like No Other

We spent the first three months of the season shut down due to restrictions. During this time we worked with governmental agencies to see if there was a way that people like you could go rafting while minimizing the spread of the virus.

Finally, in mid-June we got the green light from the state and counties. In late June we conducted several successful “Covid sensitive rafting trips” using governmental prescribed measures of protection and protocol, and on July 1 we officially opened up. Masks were made mandatory whenever appropriate. Each guest in each raft was from their own social bubble and the number of people in rafts and on trips were reduced. You had your own “private raft and guide” all day long, and carried your own, pre-ordered bag lunch to make sure that meal was not a group event as it has been on trips for nearly 60 years.

As a result of the added resources required to pull off trips during a pandemic we had to limit the number of rivers we could operate on in 2020. We had already missed our 5 wonderful, free-flowing springtime rivers (no reservoirs above the runs), prior to the season due to the delayed start, but then had to make the difficult decision to eliminate two spectacular dam-controlled rivers, the Tuolumne and Cherry Creek. We concentrated all of our resources on the two most popular rivers, the South Fork and Middle Fork of the American River.

So How Did it All Turn Out?

Really well, and might we say, way better than we could ever imagine! We did our part by getting everything ready to make it happen. You did your part by stepping away from home and driving up and joining us for a day, two days, or three days and we all had a blast! Words like “intimate”, “private”, ”special”, “needed” have been used by guests and guides to describe their trips this year.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for being such an integral part of a successful and memorable 2020 rafting season, despite the challenges! We worked together…You trusted us and we trusted you and as a result we made and enjoyed a rafting season that would not have happened otherwise.

As a celebration and a way to raise the glass to you and to our employees, we have put together the special video above “A Look Back at the 2020 Rafting Season”. We hope you enjoyed viewing it and if you haven’t by this time, pop back up and go to it!

We do not know what 2021 will be like, but we do know that if all of us team up again, we can make another rafting season happen and benefit from what running wild rivers brings to the human soul and spirit.

With much appreciation to you and to so many others,

 

The Armstrongs

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