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A Bucket List Experience a Short Drive from Home

Camping on a river island is a magical experience. The only sounds around us overnight were the... read more

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Reviewed September 3, 2021
Arlington Heights, Illinois, United States
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Reviewed August 23, 2019

1. No parking at the landing, we were required to park at the shop when we arrived. Not a big deal, but this may matter to some. Cars were stacked, there's the potential to be trapped in. Park by the ropes if the below doesn’t persuade you to run!
2. No garbage dumpster at the landing, and according to the staff, you're supposed to take your trash with you when you leave. That’s right. With you out of Boscobel. All the way home. I was told that I could use their trashcan but the owner wouldn't be happy about it. So I drove 3 hours with trash in my trunk.
3. Atrocious head winds on the second day. Wife, myself and the kids spent 3 hours paddling to only cover a mile and BOY were we exhausted. Called "WI River Outing" for a hand here's what I heard across 5 calls in 5 hours:
o "It was your decision to go out there"
o "You have a paddle and a boat, you are not stranded" – Technically, sure but
not really in my case. I have kids.
o "We have one guy on a boat recusing people, and he does it as a favor, sir" –
Huh? This one had me dumbfounded. So I guess dial 911 when this guy is out of
o "You are third in line but there's just one guy and he has a small fishing boat" –
Was third for 5 hours. Could have pulled me out while the others play hide-n-seek
with him.
o "You have to be patient and STOP CALLING SIR" – If they said call back in 1
hour, I called in an hour. Apparently that’s being impatient.
o "It's your responsibility to check the weather" – I did. Said sunny and no winds.
o "You knew you were bringing kids before going out there, sir. Now you have to
be patient" – She’s likely winning mother of the year with that.
4. They have just one guy and he's not an employee that can retrieve individuals that need a hand.
5. They are unable to provide adequate times for pickups and if you follow-up when they ask, they're annoyed.
6. The woman was highly contentious on the phone and clearly annoyed by my phone calls.
7. When we made it to the landing (without the rescue, long story there), I had to jump in their van for a ride back to my car, the staff seated in front was talking through the day’s events and (not knowing that I was the caller from earlier) said my name and said I was "unappreciative" then laughed.

No empathy whatsoever to the fact we had little children and we were unable to make significant progress. After waiting 5 hours for a rescue, the conditions lightened up enough for us to slowly make it out of there. If I never see Boscobel or “WI River Outing” again, it’ll be too soon.

Date of experience: August 2019
2  Thank ferd-chi
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Scott T, Owner at WI River Outings, responded to this reviewResponded September 1, 2019


Just so those seeing this review can get some context: Early on a Sunday morning, around 5 AM a storm front came through SW WI. There was about an hour of high winds and rain. After the storm went through it remained breezy until about noon and then died down. There were some customers who had their boats blown into the water and then floated away.

You'll see that some of the details of the trip have changed above from the emailed response provided to Ferdinand a week ago. I will let our previous reviews and the response below be our final word regarding this trip.

This is the email response WRO send to Ferdinand when he shared some of the info above.

Thank you for taking the time to respond to our survey request. These surveys help us address issues that we might not even realize are issues.

I’m glad you were able to reschedule your trip after the weather we had in July.

I want to start off with information that’s in the description of this trip and I believe is also in the email confirmation:

A word about the weather: This is an outdoor activity and unfortunately we don’t have control over the weather, and if we did we’d probably end up screwing it up long-term anyway. Our goal at WRO is to do everything we can to get you on the water on the day your trip is scheduled because we know how difficult it is for most folks to reschedule their trip. We’ve found that 90% of weather is between the ears, if you believe you’re going to have a horrible time because the weather isn’t perfect in your opinion…you ARE going to have a horrible time. Many of us have become so used to climate and environment control that we’ve forgotten what it’s like to surrender to what we’re dealt. And by the way, the remaining 10% of weather…it’s about bringing the quality gear you need, like rain gear. Surrender to the river and surrender to the weather, it’s almost impossible to really control either.

This is also part of the Gear List: This is a wilderness experience; the Wisconsin River is NOT Six Flags. It’s important you approach your trip in the correct frame of mind. Keep in mind; most people are on the river for 24 hours. There’s no need to over pack and you don’t need “the kitchen sink.” The objective is NOT to see how much you can bring…but how little and still meet your needs.

As mentioned by both Jill and Michele on Sunday morning, we had parties on the river that were without boats…blown away…not available to paddle…caught in trees. They were the priority. As I understand it you had approximately a 15 minute paddle to get to the boat landing. It may have been windy first thing after the storm moved through, but with patience the wind did die and you were able to paddle into the boat landing. I’m not sure what you hoped to accomplish by making hourly, and then every 15 minute, phone calls to hurry a process that was going to take time. In our 17 years we’ve never maintained a boat, and don’t intend to. And just so you know, one more call letting us know you decided to get back in your canoes would have been helpful since someone did go look for you but you had already finished your trip.

I understand that you also had an issue with a discussion about weather with one of the ladies at some point prior to your trip. I’m not sure how to address that. There are apps, websites, local news video and an entire channel devoted to the weather. We can only give the information we have available regarding weather conditions…and can’t be held responsible when they are not accurate. I’m hoping you weren’t suggesting that we knew exactly how Sunday morning would go and decided to put you out anyway.

Your issue with the boat spinning around in the wind was due to needing more weight to the front of the boat, I’ve counselled both ladies on this for the future. The other option is what you ended up doing…wait for the wind to die to down.

Finally, I assume that you don’t do many outdoor activities. Many federal, state and county parks have gone to pack-in, pack-out principles (Leave-No-Trace). If you brought something in, you need to take it out. This has been done for a couple reasons, for many places - it’s the right thing to do and it’s a cost cutting effort by governments. The City of Boscobel runs the boat landing and they decided about 5 years ago to pull trash cans for some of those reasons in addition to others. We could do a better job of sharing this information with our customers, as I understand it, when one of my staff explained that you needed to take your trash with you…you left it anyway.

I’m disappointed your first trip with WRO wasn’t what you thought it would be. My hope is that we get to see you on the river again now that you’ve got a trip under your belt. These trips are great experiences for kids and there seem to be few chances to provide these kinds of experiences.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 22, 2019

Mostly, the whole experience was a great time. I pulled back one star because of a bit of a mess at the beginning getting us to the landing - it seems they were swamped with a big influx of people. Unsure how that could have been a surprise to them. Otherwise, great folks and it all went very well once we were in the water. Called the office when finished in Boscobel and they came down and picked us up right away.

Date of experience: August 2019
Thank Donna T
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed August 16, 2019

Was a blast! Only downside was we were not aware there would be a fee to stay as Muscado campground even though WRO recommended it as a place to stay. Besides that it was a truly peaceful and beautiful mini vacation.

Date of experience: August 2019
Thank Sarah C
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed August 7, 2019

This was the second year that we have worked with WI River Outings for our 2 day/1 night canoe trip. From start to finish, they made our experience a piece of cake! The helpful tips they sent out prior to our trip were awesome and we were able to utilize quite a few of them to make our experience even better. We will be back next year!

Date of experience: August 2019
Thank Shelby B
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed August 6, 2019

The stars at night were absolutely gorgeous. The staff I interacted with were friendly and helpful and seem genuinely interested in making sure I and my group had a good time. The drop off and pick up could not have gone any smoother. Information provided regarding likely camping spots and how to handle the approach to the pick up boat landing in Boscobel were top notch.

Date of experience: August 2019
Thank Paula A
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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