Santa Rosa CA 96502
July 10, 2002
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Aurora’s Response
Dear Margaret,
Welcome back from your backpacking trip. I have been putting off writing to you because I was still angry, but I took another class on the water recently and their professionalism contrasted sharply with the Aurora portion of our Eel River Whitewater and Wilderness Exploration on May 6-12.
I really enjoyed the hikes that you and Lynn led. The activist talks were informative and interesting. Thank you very much for your hard work in organizing this trip.
I realize that wilderness trips can meet unpredictable circumstances, but the weather in May was typical. You and I and Jaime all knew the flows on the Eel before we started. Jaime decided to take our group on the main stem of the Eel rather than the Middle Fork because of the low flows. He knew before he put a boat in the water that, to cover the 49 miles from Dos Rios to Alderpoint in four days, we would have to average more than 12 miles a day in the rafts.
I say “rafts,” but it was really only “raft.” He provided only one raft for 11 passengers. Maybe he thought that your headline in the April 1 edition of the Redwood Needles, “Let’s Go Rafting!” was an April Fools joke. I was stunned when I saw one raft for 11 passengers, each paying $400 for the river portion of the trip. You, too, were surprised.
I don’t believe that Jaime really thought we could cover 49 miles in four days with five of our members in inflatable kayaks. Some of those people had never been in a kayak before, no one was a skilled kayaker. I believe his poor decisions were based on his desire to keep the trip money rather than to provide a meaningful wilderness experience or even a good raft trip.
I realize Jaime was reluctant to tear up his expensive equipment in the low water, but we paddled only two miles in the last two days. We did not get the advertised four days wilderness rafting. I would like a refund of $200, half of the river portion of the trip fee.
Margaret, I know that Jaime and his company have guided several of your Sierra Club trips. I know that it is their policy to refund fees when water or river conditions do not allow them to provide a trip. I would hope that Jaime is not trying to take advantage of his good relationship with you at the expense of the trip participants. I am sure that he would like to have your business in the future. How can you help me, Margaret, to get this inequity resolved?
Please give me a call at 707-575-3446 at your convenience to let me know your suggestions. I hope that we can resolve this equitably so that I am not forced to communicate the concerns expressed by the trip members on the final evening to Vicky Hoover who requested our comments and suggestions in the Outing Description.

I hope you enjoyed your backpacking trip and I look forward to speaking with you to resolve this. Many thanks.

Sincerely,

Anet Dunne

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