Too Old for Rafting? This Grandma Doesn’t Think So…

Think you’re too old to go on a multi-day rafting trip? Think again.  Suki Tuthill, a 67-year-old grandma from California and self-proclaimed “non-outdoorsy” person, decided to leave her concerns behind and head out on a six-day Cataract Canyon rafting trip in Utah with her family last summer.  She talks about being able to share an adventure with her grandkids and some of the tough parts of the trip that ended up being not-so-tough after all.

Why do you think Utah is such a special place to visit?

As we drove to Utah we got to see all the beautiful red rocks appear, and it literally brought tears to our eyes. It was just truly a spiritual experience.

A grandma and her granddaughter on a Cataract Canyon rafting trip

Cataract Canyon was your first multi-day rafting trip.  Did you have any concerns before going?

I’m a camper, but you know, luxury camping with a tent trailer. I’m not a major outdoorsy person. But I figured if everyone thought I could do it, I could do it. So no major concerns, just totally excited about being able to share this kind of adventure and experience with our grandchildren and daughter-in-law.

What was the toughest part about being on the river for six days?

Really there was nothing that was tough. But I’ll tell you the very first night, when they were giving us the toilet talk and how all that works, I went back in my tent and thought, “Really Suki, 67-years-old and you’re going to do this for 6 days?” But it was so comfortable, and of course the food was so good, and all the guides—and their knowledge, entertainment skills, how they enrich the whole process—was really neat.

What would you say to a fellow grandparent who is hesitant to go on a rafting trip with their family?

There’s nothing to keep you from doing Cataract Canyon.  I would say, “Do it, 1,000 percent.”  It is just so wonderful.  There was not anything I could not have done.  I have to say, I was worried about jumping into the river and getting back into the boat, because I’ve never considered myself that athletic. But the way they taught us how to get people into the boat, I just knew that no matter what I did I would be fine. There was not one thing that was scary or overwhelming for me.  It could be as challenging as you wanted it or not.

What was your favorite memory from the trip?

Seeing my grandkids and daughter-in-law do all the different activities like stand up paddleboarding and the duckies.  On top of that, as a grandma, being able to do something as exciting as this with our grandchildren, it was just the ultimate. It’s the best family experience.  It’s so wonderful to be in an environment where you don’t have any outside distractions, you don’t need any technology, you just end up hanging out with all the different people, having great conversations and just really having a different experience. And with your family. That is the best thing. It makes you want to do something special with your family every year.

Catch Suki and her family on their Cataract Canyon rafting trip in our latest video and see what it’s all about.