Go with the Flow and Get in the Know

By JASON SHREDER

I love spring in Missoula.  I know many folks here in Western Montana thought it would never come this year, but it did.   Those first few warm days make me dizzy and then I start to lose focus.  Trees are budding, rivers are rising, and people are shedding layers like it’s going out ofstyle.

Speaking of focus, I am writing this blog with all of the blinds shut, doors closed, and music off.  I can see the sun creeping through the cracks and the river, only a few blocks away is calling my name.  My focus won’t last long so I better start typing faster.

I don’t even know what I’m going to write about, but I do know that this town is buzzing with happiness.  For us river rats, it’s a special time of the year.   I get to see most of my kayaking buddies all year round, but it’s great seeing everybody out on the local rivers.

It’s also great to meet new people.  I was down in the eddy at Brennan’s a few days ago and I barely knew anyone.  Each spring, there is usually a fresh batch of new kayakers, eager and ready to hit the water.  The eddy can be an intimidating place, especially if you’re a beginner.

Next time you’re in an eddy with a bunch of people you don’t know, introduce yourself.  It really goes a long way. When I first started kayaking, it made me feel much more comfortable when a seasoned veteran would introduce themselves and offerhelp.

This season, we are going to see some high water levels and we need to be on our toes, looking out for each other.   Good communication is essential for river awareness, safety, and fun.

Water is powerful and is many times underestimated by people.  The river is constantly changing and sometimes is unforgiving and demanding.  Please remember to be prepared this season.  Get in the know before you go.  Call the local outfitter, shops, or friends who are out on the water daily.  Let’s all work together to make the river season a safe one.

Please don’t hesitate to call us at 406-546-0370 for daily river conditions.

Another option to look into is taking a swiftwater rescue class from our friends at the Whitewater Rescue Institute.  This is another great resource for river conditions and questions.

See Jason Shredder’s “Go With the Flow”archive.

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Jason Shreder, owner of local whitewater company Zoo Town Surfers. I love Missoula, the great community, and all the awesome water that surrounds it.  I’m constantly moving and 90% of that movement involves kayaking, rafting, working, and hanging out with my awesomely supportive girlfriend anddogs.