WEST GLACIER — Montana is home to some of the best recreational sports in the country. And one during the summer that attracts people from all over is whitewater rafting, something that Glacier Guides and Montana Raft provides all summer.
"Every time you get on the river, you have this little bit of anticipation of excitement you know," said Glacier Guides and Montana Raft owner Denny Gignoux. "And you're going out there; you're paddling, and you get out into the water, and you are surrounded by such clean water, such beautiful rocks, such great geology, the chance to see wildlife, right next to the National Park."
Now an owner after starting out as a guide 29 years ago, Gignoux knows nothing beats the looks on everyone’s faces after they finish rafting on the middle fork river, whether it be the exhilarating rapids ride or the scenic relaxation float.
"We will bring a family where someone may be very apprehensive, children or parents in the beginning, and at the end they are just overjoyed with the experience which they had," said Gignoux. "And that is something which never grows old. It's so wonderful seeing people forget about what city they're from or where they’ve been and just to be present and in the moment."
One family from Ontario, Canada, has been on several rafting trips in North America, but for them the experience here in Montana takes the cake.
"This would be the bigger rapids the girls and Jared have actually ever done," said Sarah Ruston, referencing her family. "I've done bigger rapids before, but this would be the bigger ones they've ever done."
As for their favorite parts of the three-hour ride …
"I like it's the rapid where the rocks were close together and they kind of squeezed you through them," said Ruston.
"I liked the Bone Crusher," said Ava Ruston with a grin.
"The Bone Crusher was great," said Madelien Ruston in agreement with her older sister.
"Seeing the girls handle themselves in a mature way on the water," said Jared Ruston.
As for Ginoux and fellow owner Mark Okeefe, their favorite part is the people.
"It's definitely working with all the people we get to work with. All the staff, all the guides, all the customers who come back year after year, and also just being involved with Glacier National Park and the surrounding area," said Gignoux.
"It’s fabulous. I mean, it's just so wonderful, Glacier never gets old."
Glacier Guides and Montana Raft offers tours all summer long and is located off Highway 2, a mile south of the park’s west entrance.