GALLATIN GATEWAY — The warmth has finally set in for those in Southwest Montana, and great weather means that people are getting out for some outdoor adventure sports.
Both tourists and locals are heading to Montana Whitewater in Gallatin Gateway for the outdoor adventure sports of whitewater river rafting.
“We have people come from all over the world and the country, and it’s just cool to see them enjoy something they maybe thought they’d never enjoy, or we get people who are super nervous, and we talk to them and seeing their expression afterwards and be like what an incredible experience that was," guide Twyla Zell said.
Zell has lived her whole life on the river. She’s able to take that experience into her first year being a guide.
“I was actually born and raised here," Zell said. "Spent 18 years of my life here. Spent most of my time on the river, done a bunch of rivers. Lots of river trips. We do kayaking on this river, play trips. This is actually my first year guiding on this river as well.”
The guides have nearly the same routine every day, but Montana Whitewater is just on the cusp of entering its busiest season of the year throughout the month of July which means it will ramp up the number of trips on the river to three different heaps a day.
“Usually get here in the morning at like 9:30," guide Fletcher Revisky said. "We do a guide meeting about how many boats are going out, what the water level’s at, any new features in the river to look out for. And then we just start gearing people up. Usually we’ll do two trips a day, but when the busy season starts getting real busy we’ll do three trips a day.”
Since the state has had such drastic changes in weather nearly every day, the only thing that will stop the trips is if lightning is in the distance.
They raft through everything, which has created great, unique memories for each guide.
“Taking people — I had a kid the other day — and it hailed on us," Revisky said. "He’d never seen hail, that was kind of cool. But just taking people on an experience they’d never done before, and getting to experience that with them and see their excitement to do something new is really cool.”
And some visitors aren’t as excited about bad weather when it’s their turn to get onto the river, but the guides make sure to bring up the spirits and change the mindset.
“As a guide, you need to have a good attitude going through it," Zell said. "So it’s just like, there was this beautiful weather, the sun was shining through, the rain was kind of leaving, and the kids weren’t having it. But I was like, 'Woo hoo, this is super fun.' It was good seeing the kids get through it. I just like that.”
For more information on Montana Whitewater, head to this link.