My wife and I are looking at kayaking down Mendenhall river next weekend. We have gone white water rafting in Class IIIs a handful of times and gone kayaking in calm waters in the ocean but no white water. We would like to try Mendenhall River but I am nervous about heading out in the kayaks (9ft plastic cruisers) due to the mile or so of rapids being that I have not scouted the lendth of the river yet. I am wondering what the terrain around the rapids is like.

1)If it looks like the rapids will be too much to handle, is the surrounding terrain flat enough to take the kayaks out and hike down stream some?
2)Near the rapids, are there paths through the water that you can pick to keep you away from the bigger stuff?

From the limited amount of video I have seen, it looks like you can go around the stuff that the tour rafts hit for the tourist. Being that one tour guide can paddle a raft full of people through these things, I am guessing that they can't be too bad. Am I on the right track or looking for a death wish?