July 6, 2014
Yesterday we left our campsite in Colter Bay at 6:30am to get up to the Gallatin River in Montana for some white water rafting. We had to drive through a portion of Yellowstone again so we got to see it from a different perspective – early in the morning before all the tourists are up. We didn’t have time to stop and see anything we missed but it was wonderful to see the morning light bathe the forest in a fresh glow. As we drove through the geothermal areas we could see the steam from different springs and geysers billowing up into the sky.
Once we left Yellowstone we were driving through the Gallatin National Forest which is also lovely and littered with campsites. Next time we’ll have to camp there. We made it to Montana Whitewater around 9:30 and checked in, signed our waivers, and geared up. We were given wetsuits, water boots, splash jackets, life vests, and helmets. It was pretty bulky once it was all on your body.
Then we were driven down to the beginning of our trip. We were given a safety talk by one of the guides and then the large group was divided among 6 or 7 rafts. We were with a nice family from Idaho with whom we had already been talking. Before we began the trip we saw a bald eagle perched in a tree by the river which must have been a good omen.
So we set off in our raft with the family of 4 from Idaho and our guide. Zach and I were both in the middle of the raft. I was really happy that we ended up with the Idaho family because the man was a talker. It was nice to listen to his stories as we rolled down the river.
The beginning was easy – we were taught how to respond to the calls of our guide and the river was still calm. Then we hit a few practice rapids and could relax in between. Then we hit the upper falls. After the upper falls we cruised on down to hit the most challenging parts of the river – House Rock and the Mad Mile. House Rock is a gigantic rock that is smack in the middle of the river so you have to navigate around it while going through some giant rapids. After House Rock we hit the Mad Mile which is a mile stretch of rapids – the length of it makes it a class IV. It was a lot of fun! For some reason my side of the raft was hit with the most water so I was drenched almost the entire time – good thing I had a wet suit because that mountain water was cold! At the end of the Mad Mile we had one last rapid to go through – the Brad Pitt Rapid. It’s a section of the river where part of A River Runs Through It was filmed. In that part of the movie Brad Pitt’s character, Paul, is fly-fishing from a rock in the river when he hooks a large fish and is thrust into the rapids trying to bring it out of the water – which he does. So we rafted by the rock he was standing on and through the rapids he swam through to catch the fish. Zach was pretty stoked about it.
I’m was pretty apprehensive at first but I’m so glad we went rafting. It was a blast! The Gallatin was higher than normal so it made our trip even better. I would definitely recommend Montana Whitewater to anyone in this area looking to go rafting.