Take a Ride on the Wild Side
Montana Whitewater Rafting: A Guide’s Favorite Trip to Lead
Post by Sam Johnston, Missoula Montana
After guiding Montana whitewater rafting trips for the past 5 summers I am always looking for new ways to go down the river. So, naturally, the other guides and I began taking smaller rafts for our run trips after work. Small rafts accentuate every wave, rapid, and swirl. Moreover, almost every little water feature can cover the entire boat with water. This was in-part what inspired Montana River Guides to start offering the Wild Side raft trips. Since the other guides and I were having so much fun, why not guide these trips with gung-ho clients?
One of the first people to bring this kind of rafting to my attention was former MRG guide, David Roberts. He always paddled a small raft solo on our fun trips. It was apparent how much more challenge and skill is required to navigate whitewater in a small boat. (Kayakers insert joke here) David made it look easy and regularly offered fellow guides a ride along. Since then he has become a legend in our Montana rafting community. He regularly surfs Brennan’s Wave downtown Missoula, practicing skills, flips and recoveries. To learn more about David go check out this article: Interview with David from Men’s Journal. There is also a video of him solo rafting the grand canyon linked here David Roberts Mini-Raft R-1 Solo of Grand Canyon.
Best Time to “Go Big or Go Home!”
“Go Big or Go Home” is definitely on of the cliches you hear on the river a lot. I think on these trips we are more like, “Go Little to Go Big!” While this trip is it is fun any time of year, we recommend going at lower flows when the water is a little warmer. Trips during high water in May and early June usually take place on the Blackfoot River. This section offers fast, fun Class II and III rapids with some gorgeous scenery. By July and August when river levels drop a bit this trip is best on the Alberton Gorge where you can experience legendary rapids like Tumbleweed and Fang. So, regardless of when you decide to go, the thrill and the fun of the wild side raft trip never changes. Nine feet of Lime Green Glory!
How Does it Work?
All-in-all, the wild side raft trip is perfect if you are looking for a soaking wet & thrilling adventure this summer. The raft can hold up to 4 people not including the guide. And, another thing to note is the wild side raft trip is truly a team effort. You will have to work closely with your guide to navigate challenging rapids. Even if you listen well and execute each paddle-stroke perfectly there is still a good chance you will fall in and take a drink. Just remember if you do fall in keep your feet up, enjoy the swim and hold on to your paddle! Wildside Trip Price is $390 per boat for up to four guests.