Some years ago, when I first took up the sport, I was on the Ontonogon River, in the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I was about 15 feet out in the stream, in water up to my knees. The bottom was strewn with small, round gravel stones, disbursed among a number of larger, flat rocks. The situation hardly seemed dangerous. But when I tried to walk against the current, to get back to the shore, I could not move.
Actually, all of the stones were covered with algae, and when I moved against the current, I could not get any traction at all; a couple of times, I came close to losing my balance. The sun was shining, and because of the glare on the water, I could not see the bottom. So, I could not see where I needed to step, to walk safely.
A few years later, I was fishing on the Muskegon River, near Croton Dam, in western Michigan. A fisherman had told me that he had fished all of the great rivers of the western United States, he felt that the Muskegon was more dangerous of any of them. After that day, I was sure that he was right.
What you need to stay safe. There are two important things to remember to stay safe. If you get in trouble, don’t panic, and make sure that you have the right stuff.