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QUESTIONS & ANSWERS


IS IT SAFE?

Your safety is our number one priority. We are very proud of the fact that our safety standards exceed all B.C. regulations. All staff is first aid trained and our qualified and licensed guides do their most to ensure everything is safe and enjoyable.

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE CHILLIWACK AND THE THOMPSON RIVERS?

The Chilliwack is a smaller and shallower river, creating long and continuous rapids with many shoots and drops. On all Chilliwack trips we operate our smaller (16ft) self-bailing paddle rafts. These rafts hold 6-9 people and a guide. All Chilliwack trips are accompanied by a safety kayaker. The Chilliwack is at its best when the mountain snows are melting, providing the water necessary to create these exciting rapids. This is the best trip available close to Vancouver; only 90 minutes from the city.

The Thompson is B.C.'s 3rd largest river. This large volume river creates big, powerful waves and flows through a deep dramatic canyon. The water flows out of the Schuswap and Kamloops Lakes and by August it warms to 18c. The Thompson is at its best from June through September with big rolling waves (some as high as 8 feet) separated by calmer scenic stretches. Located in Canada's "Hot Spot", Lytton is a beautiful 3 hour drive from Vancouver.

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PADDLE AND POWER TRIPS?

On the Thompson we offer both trips so you may choose what's right for you.

On paddle trips, everyone participates by working together to help the guide maneuver the raft through the rapids. All of our self-bailing rafts are top quality, and range from 15-20 feet in length. These rafts are designed to hold 8-12 people and a guide. Everyone participating in a paddle trip should be in good health and have some swimming ability. Minimum age is 10 years and 80 lbs.

On power trips, the guide powers you through the rapids providing the necessary speed for an exhilarating and wet ride. On some rapids we are able to power back up river and challenge the rapids again. These rafts are 22 feet long and are very stable allowing you to ride the biggest waves on the Thompson. All motorized rafts are powered by new 4-stroke motors, which are smoke-free and super quiet, providing the best motorized experience available. Swimming ability is not mandatory; minimum age is 8 years and 65 lbs.

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO GO?

It depends on the river and your personal preferences. The Chilliwack offers higher water levels with fast-paced action from May through July. The Thompson's rapids get better and better as the river drops - here, we recommend June through September. The Chilko is at its best during July and August.

WHAT EQUIPMENT DO YOU PROVIDE?

We provide all the rafting equipment you'll need, this includes a wetsuit, helmet, life jacket and paddle. Waterproof bags are available for cameras and extra clothing. For our 6-Day expedition trips, our office will supply you with a detailed packing list.

HOW MANY PEOPLE IN A RAFT?

Chilliwack River: 6 - 9 per boat , Thompson River: 6 - 12 per paddle boat, 10 - 16 per power boat, Chilko River: 5 per boat

WHAT CLASS ARE THE RAPIDS?

On the International Scale of 1 to 6, rapids range from 2 to 5, depending on water levels.
Chilliwack/Thompson: Class 3-4
Chilko: Class 2-4+

Difficulty Ratings

WHAT ABOUT EYEGLASSES AND CONTACT LENSES?

Eyeglasses and sunglasses should be worn with a secure sports safety strap. Contact lenses are very rarely a problem and, in fact, are worn by many professional guides.

IS THERE A MINIMUM AGE?

On the Chilliwack and Thompson River paddle trips, children must be 10 years old and weigh a minimum of 80 lbs. On power trips, the minimum is 8 years old and 65 lbs.

DO YOU PROVIDE FOOD?

Our riverside buffet luncheon is part of all 1-Day paddle or power trips. On afternoon paddle or power trips, a snack is provided. Hyak's famous barbeque option is available on Saturday evenings for Thompson River guests. On 2-Day trips, meals are provided from lunch Saturday to lunch Sunday. All meals are provided on our 3-Day and 6-Day Chilko/Chilcotin/Fraser trip.

DO YOU PROVIDE TRANSPORTATION?

Hyak offers a shuttle service from major downtown Vancouver hotels. Our comfortable 6 and 12 passenger vans operate daily shuttle service to the Chilliwack River and Tuesdays & Wednesdays to the Thompson River. For school and corporate groups, charter and school bus transfers can be arranged.

WHAT ABOUT DRINKING AND LIQUOR?

Federal law and common sense will not allow Hyak to permit anyone under the influence of alcohol or drugs to go on the river. However, on overnight and multi-day trips, liquor is allowed at the campsite. Aluminum and plastic containers are preferred. Everyone will also be required to sign a waiver prior to the commencement their rafting adventure.

WHAT ABOUT CAMPING EQUIPMENT?

For weekend and overnight trips, you should bring your own sleeping bag, tent, air mattress and other personal effects. For Fantasy Island 2-Day trips, camping rentals are available; on the Chilko Expedition, all camping equipment is included.

WHAT ABOUT A CAMERA?

Thompson and Chilliwack - We recommend that you don't bring expensive cameras on the raft with you. If you would like to take pictures, a waterproof camera is your best option.

Chilko/Chilcotin/Fraser - There's lots of opportunity for great pictures so definitely bring your camera! Both the scenery and abundance of wildlife will inspire your photographer's instinct. As the landscape changes from day to day, so does the wildlife. Countless bald eagles can be seen in the upper reaches of the Chilko as well as mule deer, moose and black bear. The lower Chilcotin Fraser have been designated a reserve for California bighorn sheep. Herds of fifty or more can be seen perched on the desert cliffs high above the river. This river system is also a major spawning ground for Sockeye and Chinook salmon.

DO WE GO RAIN OR SHINE?

Yes, very often the weather at the river is very different than Vancouver, with the Thompson Valley being among the hottest and driest regions in Canada. Proper dress and a spirit of adventure will ensure an enjoyable expedition under any condition.

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