Summer is finally here! High water has passed, the snow is pretty much gone, and the river is returning to its amazing glacial green colour. Let’s start thinking of getting our feet wet!
July brings us fast and full rivers. Though not as big as we saw in June, they can still be alarming. Most of the activities that we enjoy in the Elk Valley bring us close to creeks and rivers, during a bike ride to cross the creek, or to soak your feet during a legendary hike. It’s important to understand water safety when you’re in and around these majestic flows.
Here are a few steps to be aware of before you start playing in the river and getting your adrenaline going. It’s no different than dropping into Lizard Headwall, a bit of prep work goes a long way!
- Before entering the river and during your trip, Scout, Assess and Decide.
Scout. Look up river and down for any logs, boats, or possible things that might be floating towards you.
Assess. What is the water going to be like? How warm is the water? How long are you in the river for? How fast is the river moving? What’s the visibility of the water?
Decide. Is it “good to go?” Should you adjust your day’s goals, choose a different section to run, or is it time to get out because something just changed?
- Always wear a PFD or lifejacket. It’s no good to you if you’re not wearing it. A PFD can keep you floating when you swim, protects you if you hit a rock and will keep you warmer.
- Never boat and drink. Save it for after on the patio.
- Paddle with a friend, or at the very least, let someone know where you went and when you plan on returning.
July is an amazing time to enjoy the rivers and creeks. Get out in the river and dust off that roll; it’s time to go play and enjoy why we live here in Fernie! Just remember that rivers can present some hazards to the unsuspecting.
Finally, if you’re interested in following the river’s levels throughout the season, check out the RiverApp. It is a simple and easy gauge to follow your favourite river’s levels! It even has an alarm feature for when that right level is in!
Hope to see you out there!