Most people know and realize how dangerous lakes can be. The water can be cold. The seas can be rough. Or maybe you’re just not that strong of a swimmer. What people don’t realize is just how treacherous rivers and streams can be.
We had an example of this last year. A young photographer came into Stone Harbor asking us for some locations to take photos. We sent him to Kadunce Creek, a pretty little babbling brook with lots of fantastic scenery. While he was up in the canyon portion of the creek, it started to rain. And rain hard. After about 15 minutes, the sudden storm had created a flash flood. He made it out, but barely. As he recounted his tale, you could see the fear and concern on his face.
Rivers are dangerous, so here are a few tips to make your time on our area creeks and rivers a little more safe:
- Always be respectful of Mother Nature, She can turn on you in a heartbeat. Check the weather before you leave and bring appropriate clothing — you never know what the day is going to bring. If the weather is changing for the worse, get out and come back another day. No fish or photo is worth your life.
- A lot of fishermen wear chest waders. Even during periods of low water, the traction that wading boots provide is a great help. For novices, I recommend wearing either waist high waders or hip boots. These prevent you from getting in too deep (literally and figuratively). People tend to get a little too brave when they can see a fish or have plenty of room to their wader tops.
- Use a walking stick or trekking pole. Poles allow you to feel what’s on the bottom. They also give you much added balance.
- Always cross at the tail end (the lower end) of pools. It is much more shallow and there is less current. Also, remember to point your feet upstream when crossing; this keeps you more balanced.
- This one may sound a little silly, but people do get lost on rivers. Remember that a river only flows in one direction, so come back the way you came.
- Most accidents are caused by either panic, fear, being in a hurry, or not respecting your environment. Always look before you leap and remember to watch your step.