Exploring the wild outdoors via rail and river provides a pleasing change of pace from the infinite staircases of the wild indoors. Step outside with today's Groupon: for $75, you get a seven-hour rail and raft adventure (up to a $150 value) from Sierra Railroad and Sunshine Rafting Adventures. The trip launches from Horseshoe Recreation Area in Oakdale at 9:45 a.m. on the following eight dates throughout the summer:
The storied Sierra Railroad allies itself with Sunshine Rafting Adventures. to combine the peanut butter of luxury locomotion with the chocolate of river-riding outdoor adventure. The historical and ecological edu-venturewhich may last as long as seven hours, depending on conditions and rafting pacefollows a closed-circuit route that navigates through vernal landscapes and meandering river bends filled with scenic bluffs and the signs of local fauna. Pathfinders 5 years old and up can observe the cliff swallows' mud nests among the ancient volcanic flows and the unmistakable tracks of the greater whistling iron-horse. A roast beef, turkey, or PB&J picnic lunch divides the 1.5-hour train trip and the guide-assisted Stanislaus River sojourn, which delivers adventurers back to their car or rickshaw at Horseshoe Recreation Area.
No strangers to the flowing frontiers, the buoyancy-buffs of Sunshine Rafting Adventures provide all rafting accouterments, from sturdy craft to fashionable life vest. While cameras are permitted, nothing brought onboard is completely safe from this rakish river's playful splashes. Day-trippers should plan accordingly, packing towels, a change of clothes, post-journey beverages, and trunk-mounted gyroscopes for quick drying. Trips are not often deterred by rain, though severe weather may force rescheduling.
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