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Some People Ask

Solo Travelers Find Camaraderie on BattenKill Trips
While independent travelers may be planning to travel solo, that doesn't mean they relish the prospect of spending a week's vacation alone in the car with a crumpled map and an empty pretzel bag. Nor do they crave the (literal) human contact found on a crowded bus with 50 strangers whose only shared interest is in "doing Europe." And some people just find it hard to relax in a place where "May I rub oil on your back?" is the standard opener. How to meet people who are successful, active and confident? And who share common interests?BattenKill vacations allow independent travelers to explore intriguing destinations with new friends and companions. Solo travelers can socialize with a comfortable crowd or with just a few. They can be pampered in first-rate accommodations and indulge in excellent cuisine, or enjoy the convivial warmth of relating the day's adventure around a campfire beneath a star-studded sky. All this happens in an environment where people are at their natural best-fit, relaxed, open to new adventures and (quite literally) glowing.

Although we don't offer tours specifically limited to singles, we are always happy to let you know the composition of a tour to help you make your choice

What are my rooming options if I'm traveling alone?
Accommodations (in hotels and tents) are based on double occupancy. If you prefer single accommodations, you are requested to pay the Single Supplement Fee listed in the cost for each Trip Itinerary. If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will assign you a roommate of the same gender. If there is no one with whom you can share, you are required to pay a "forced" single supplement fee, which is usually half of the regular single supplement. On some trips, shared accommodations are guaranteed, while on a few others, single accommodations are not available.

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How do you accommodate guests of varying abilities?
As you'll find when you review the trip descriptions on this site or in our catalog, each trip has a route rating (Levels 1 through 4) which take into account daily mileage and terrain. On each day of your BattenKill vacation, you'll have a choice of various options. One day you might go for the most challenging option. The next day, you may take it easy by choosing the shortest route, leaving more time for relaxed exploring and mingling with the locals. Your group may spread out over several miles or individuals can opt to set off solo. Most trips have paddlers or hikers of all abilities so there's typically someone else traveling at your speed. This makes an ideal for friends and couples, who can spend the day with similarly fit travelers and then reunite for the evenings.
On walking days, the amount of van support depends on the remoteness of the walking routes—the more remote, the less the opportunity for support.The leaders will advise you about the daily schedule each morning.

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Please explain your trip ratings?

In addition to the activities and destinations, you should consider a trip's physical difficulty, mental difficulty and technical skill requirements and choose accordingly. We have combined the International Scale of River Ratings with a rating system developed by David Noland in his book Travels Along the Edge.

Thus our ratings are rated with a number (1-5) and a letter (A-E ) - example 2-C. 1 and A indicate the easiest to 5 and E are most difficult. The number corresponds to the International River Rating Scale and the letter indicates the general difficulty of the other activities. The ratings include the general difficulty of the conditions expected on the trip; sometimes more difficult sections may be optional, such as rapids that may be portaged. If we expect that no-one will run a rapid, then that section will not drive the rating higher. This is important in comparing ratings; our rating system is based for our comparison use only.

International Scale of River difficulty:
  1. Easy moving water with a riffles and small waves. Few obstructions, all obvious and easily missed.No special skills are necessary
  2. Straightforward rapids with waves up to 2 feet and wide generally clear channels that are evident without scouting. While the passage is generally clear, some maneuvering may be necessary, but rocks and waves are easily missed. Suitable for novice beginner paddlers lead by a competent guide.
  3. Rapids with high, irregular waves which may be difficult to avoid and are capable of swamping an open canoe. Complex maneuvers in fast current and good boat control in tight passages or around ledges are often required. Scouting is generally required from shore to find sometimes narrow passages that often involve powerful currents and strong eddies.
  4. Intense, long, powerful rapids with constricted passages demanding precise maneuvering in very turbulent waters. One may encounter long rapids where rescue is difficult, large, unavoidable waves and holes, or constricted passage demanding fast maneuvers under pressure.
  5. Expert runs that are extremely long, obstructed, or very violent rapids which expose a paddler to above average risk of injury. Drops may contain very large, unavoidable waves and holes or steep, congested chutes with complex, demanding routes with significant dangers.
  6. Difficulties of Class 5 carried to the limit of navigability making the rapid almost impossible. These runs exemplify the extremes of difficulty, unpredictability and danger and the consequences of errors are very severe.

Off River Scale

  • A. Littlle or no physical challenge involved with no special skills required. Walking on level, improved footpath. Chances are that if you can get out of bed and stand up, you can enjoy it. No portages will be encountered
  • B. Your heart rate may go up, now and then. Expect hikes of 2 to 5 hours at low altitudes on level, but necessarily smooth footpaths. While no previous experience is necessary it can be learned along the way. For a reasonably fit person, no pre-trip conditioning is required, but doing so will likely improve your vacation. If there are any portages, they will be short and simple.
  • C. Be prepared for some serious huffing and puffing and previous experience is highly recommended although beginners may opt out of the more difficult sections. Elevations will not be high, but the hiking terrain can be rugged, with optional steep climbs over uneven ground, often without an improved path. Just about anybody can do a moderate walk, but not everybody can enjoy it. Portages will be often and frequent, referred to as "walks in the woods", yet generally on established trails that may be rugged with uneven footing.
  • D. Even if you are in good shape, expect to be seriously challenged. Previous skills are definitely required since activities might include 12+ hour hikes over steep terrain at high altitudes. Portages will be "walks in the woods" without trails. Remember that we do not have portages on flat water so the terrain will be steep and uneven, searching for the way.
  • E. For experts only who are ready to encounter extreme, sometimes dangerous conditions. Sleeping and eating are inconvenient necessities and treated as such. You should be a veteran of at least four D rated trips before attempting this level.

For example we grade our Scotland Highland & Island Ramble as 2-C, which is moderate to rigorous, according to our trip grading system. We will be paddling on up to class II rivers, and hiking in open fells and mountains, four to nine miles per day, following footpaths and carrying only a daypack. The paddles and hikes will range from 4 to 7 hours in length, with stops for picnic lunches. This trip would be appropriate for anyone in good heath, leading an active outdoor lifestyle, while beginners may opt out of some of the more difficult hikes.
For example the St Croix is a 1-B, indicating easy water, and non-strenuous activities, making this trip appropriate for most beginners. While Labrador is a 3-D, indicating class III river difficulty, combined with strenuous side activities that include difficult long portages around unrunnable rapids.

Generally the more difficult sections are optional and often we have more strenuous extensions available for those who desire a longer day. Please feel free to call our office, and often you can discuss the trip with a guide who has lead this trip and be able to give some guidance to your decision.

Do you have guest references for your trips?
Absolutely. We are happy to give you the address and telephone numbers of guests who have participated in the trip you're interested in.

Does information found on this Web site differ from that found in your catalog?
Because this site is regularily updated to ensure posting of the most current information, trip dates and other details may differ from those found in BattenKill printed literature, such as the 2002-2003 BattenKill Distinctive Outdoor Vacations Catalog.

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Do I need my Car during the trip, and what about parking?

Once you arrive at the meeting location, you will not need your car for the rest of the trip. Our inns provide ample parking for all our tours. On all tours BattenKill will bring you back to the starting inn at the end of your tour. Most tours end between 2 pm and 4 pm on the final day.

Do I have to carry my own luggage or gear?
Our vans will carry all luggage between inns and campgrounds in BattenKill' special trailers. They'll also pick up and transport any purchases you make along the way. You need only carry food, clothing and personal items needed for that day's activity.

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Who travels with BattenKill and what is the maximum group size?
You're probably wondering about the people with whom you'll share your adventure. Chances are, they're a lot like you. Our guests include families, couples, friends, and solo travelers from all walks of life. Spirited travelers, they share a passion for our wonderful world. Most are between 30 and 50 years old, with more over 50 than under 30; reminding us all that you can never be too young or too old to have fun! While you're here, let us dispel any misconceptions you may have about "group travel." Our groups are intentionally kept small—always less than 12 people—so you will not feel herded around. With such a small number of people, we can take advantage of many unexpected invitations that would be impossible to extend to larger groups. The guides often have very close ties to the local community and we are readily welcomed into the lives of the local.

These three factors – small size, interesting mix of people and local connections – make BattenKill Canoe more fun for us, and we believe it is why many poeple return to join us year after year. In fact, well over fifty percent of our riders are repeat customers or direct referrals!

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What's included in my BattenKill trip?
Items that are typically included in our trips:
Expert leadership, accommodations, meals as noted in the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner), airport transfers, sightseeing as noted in the itinerary, ground transportation. (We strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance.)
Items that are typically not included in our trips:
International airfare, charter flights, park fees, meals not noted on itinerary, insurance of any kind, optional tipping to leader, guides and local staff, excess baggage charges, airport taxes (if any), cost of medical immunizations, and items of a personal nature (sodas, alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.), entrance fees, permits, and internal airfare.

What kind of accommodations can I expect?
In an effort to capture the sprit of where we are traveling, the hotels, inns and B and B's that we use are usually family-run converted houses, villas, or inns, full of ambience and colorful local history. Our inns are selected for their friendliness, warmth, and country comforts, and represent a wonderful diversity, and that is part of why we are visiting. Sometimes the rooms in these lodges are not always of uniform or international size, however our leaders will always try their best of assign rooms in a fair way so that all participants experience an equal advantage throughout the trips as a whole.
Our standard accommodation is two per room, generally with a private bath. Usually singles and triples are available..

What is the food like?
The food is delicious and as diverse as the architecture. One of the nicest things about traveling in different places is discovering fantastic regional cuisine. We include most or all meals on our trips, starting with dinner on the first day and ending with lunch on the last day. When we stay in hotels or inns we dine in intimate restaurants and sample a variety of tempting local dishes, usually topped by a glass or two of the regional wine. (Good thing we have pretty active days, otherwise we'd all put on a few pounds.)
Even in more rustic settings, like camping, you'll dine equally well. The camp cooks who manage to prepare amazing culinary treats in the most remote places. In some regions the supply of produce may be more limited and consequently the food will be less varied. But you can rest assured that it will always be hearty, healthy, and tasty.
We will try to accommodate any special diet requests you may have (e.g. vegetarian and vegan), but ask that you please discuss your requests with us when signing up for a trip.

What do I need to bring?
All you need to bring—besides your spirit of adventure—is your personal gear. Don't worry, we'll send you a detailed clothing and equipment list in your pre-departure information package so you know what you'll need. We provide the rest: top-quality, state-of-the-art tents, canoe and paddling gear, camping and commissary equipment, and vehicles.

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Does BattenKill Canoe offer any group discounts?
We offer a group travel discount for seven or more people traveling together (not valid for private trips). Please contact our office at , call us at 1-800.421.5268 or 1-802.362.2800 for details.

Why do I sometimes see more than one price quoted for a trip?
Adventure travel works best with a small group of people. In order to keep your group small, most of our trips are priced according to the number of full-price passengers on the trip. We initially invoice you at the highest tier level (the smallest group size we can operate). The group size is finalized 60 days before the trip departure and you will be billed according to the number of passengers actually traveling. All pricing is based on the number of full revenue tour members. BattenKill Canoe staff, trip doctors, and other discounted travelers are excluded from the count for this purpose.

Can I create a custom itinerary and/or book a private trip?
Yes! Our trips are a perfect way to share and celebrate special occasions with friends and family and ideal for special-interest groups and corporate training programs. You can reserve an entire trip departure just for your group or let us create a special trip tailored to your specific needs and wishes. If you can imagine it, we can make it happen! We take care of all the details: guides, accommodations, meal arrangements, transportation, and equipment.

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Can I give a BattenKill Canoe trip as a present?
Is your best friend a weekend paddler who has always longed to explore Dordogne? Is your daughter an enthusiastic hiker eager to lace up her boots in Scotland? Does your brother want to leisurely discover Costa Rica by pedaling, paddling and hiking? A BattenKill trip makes a perfect gift for your active friends and family any time of year. Gift certificates are available in any amount and can be applied by the recipient toward any BattenKill vacation, pending availability. To purchase a gift certificate, please contact us at 800.421.5268.





Contact Us
BattenKill Canoe, Ltd.
800.421.5268 or 802.362.2800 fax--802.362.0159

©2002 BattenKill Canoe, Ltd.. All rights reserved

What kind of accommodations can I expect?