Don’t Be Dumb on the River Right Now!
I read a post on that crazy Billings Customer Watchdog Facebook page the other day from someone who saw two people floating down the Yellowstone River with cheap, Walmart, inflatable floaties!! She and her husband were watching them from their back porch overlooking the river. They waited for the floaters to get out of the water at some point and then sternly warned them about what a horrible idea it is right now. Indeed. Every spring we see on the news multiple river rescue efforts in Yellowstone County. Please, don't be one of them.
The river is currently running very high. It's fast and swirling and deep. If you sit and watch for a while, you'll see big trees and other debris rolling along in the murky brown water. The pic above is from a couple of days ago at the Duck Creek fishing access. The water is at the bank in many areas. It's dangerous for experienced rafters with proper gear and lifejackets. It's easy to get snagged on submerged trees, brush, fencing materials or God knows what... let alone floating on a blow-up pool toy!
Last summer was especially bad when 10 people died on the water in Montana. FWP says that most of the fatalities involved "self-powered or non-powered" watercraft and the lack of lifejacket. Later this summer you can pretty much wade across most of the river. For now, maybe just stay on the bank.