By JASON SHREDER
The river is constantly changing and is certainly a dynamic, powerful force.
No matter how hard you try, it will always win. Sometimes it’s a win/win, and other times it’s not.
In the end, it counts as another experience that you can put under your belt. On a recent sunny weekend, my good friend JP was visiting and I thought of nothing better than to head down to the Lochsa for some river action.
It’s that time of year again where flocks of Missoula river enthusiasts head over Lolo Pass to run the legendary Lochsa River.
It was a perfect day. Sun was shining, river was glistening, and the birds were chirping. We had a large group of kayakers tagging along with the rafts, which made me feel a lot better if we had any swimmers (definitely a possibility with me guiding on Lochsa!)
Being in a kayak and being in a raft are two different worlds.
75% of the time I’m in my kayak. When I’m rafting, I forget that you just just can’t take a couple of easy last-minute strokes to get around holes and other obstacles, like you can in your kayak.
I’m not just trying to tell a play-by-play story of how the day went with every boring detail that you don’t really care about. Yes, there is point I’m trying to get at: Don’t celebrate and cheer until your two feet are on the ground, at your car, with a beer in hand at the takeout.
Yes, the day was going great, we aced every rapid, enjoyed a nice lunch, took some big hits, got lucky a few times… and then lost everybody in the boat.
Yep, the takeout was in sight but I decided to take one last chance and instead of leisurely floating right into the take out, we had bodies, paddles, and a cooler floating in the river.
Sunday afternoon yard sale on the Lochsa River.
Everybody was fine and it made for a great story at dinner.
So the point of the story is: No matter how close you are to the takeout, whether you’re kayaking or rafting, don’t celebrate until you’re safely on solid ground. You never know when the river’s going to let you know who the real winner is.
Please feel free to comment, heckle, or laugh!
See you on the river!
River season is here! Jason’s got tons of awesome kayaking posts to get you stoked for summer surfing in his blog archive.
Jason Shreder is the owner of local whitewater company Zoo Town Surfers. He loves Missoula, the great community, and all the awesome water that surrounds it. He’s constantly moving and 90% of that movement involves kayaking, rafting, working, and hanging out with his awesomely supportive girlfriend and dogs.