GREAT Northern California getaway
It's an exciting enough journey traveling down the river, and is even better when shared with the crew that we had. The guides were great - super-safety conscious - and they provided an excellent lunch complete with fresh avocado and pre-cut pineapple (in fancy shapes, no less). The rafts were equipped with water guns (which can be a good thing or bad thing depending on who you are), but the mood was very fun and lighthearted. It was obvious that the service component went above and beyond.
Regardless of who you go with, rafting is a great way to get out and enjoy Northern California in a way that few people here do. The South Fork of the American River is one of the most popular rivers in the country (some 35 companies operate on this river), and the trip can be done in a half-day, full-day, or multi-day excursion for a reasonable price (in the $100-$250/person range, depending on your itinerary and party size - but don't quote me on that). All of the companies are priced in the same ballpark. The beautiful part is that you don't have to be super-fit or have any experience or special gear to go on a trip; the companies outfit you with everything that you need!
Here's the website for my friend's company: http://www.actionwhitewater.com/
Or you can Google "American River Rafting" to get a general sense of what this type of experience looks like.
Anyway, it was a blast and a great way to see a different part of Northern California.