Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Spring River: Beautiful and Dangerous

Today's story courtesy of - an online publication based in Imboden, Arkansas. Another subscription I'll need to get.

The photo is a shot taken after an elderly couple were backing their boat into the boat launch on Spring River at Imboden, located in the Ozark foothills. Spring River is a gorgeous stream fed by Mammoth Spring at the AR/MO border. The spring itself is enormous, 58 degree water year-round. The river is known for being a paddler's pleasure, great trout fishing, and lovely scenery in general.

The river can also be treacherous, as beautiful as that deceptively smooth, clear, aquamarine water can appear. I've been at that boat launch, and I had forgotten how quickly the river can drop off into deep holes. It's usually a good rule of thumb that if the water is deep blue/green, it's deep. Watch it. Couple that with current and the shock of very cold water, it wouldn't be hard to end up with a drowning.

This accident is especially heartbreaking. An elderly couple intending to spend a quiet day enjoying the river, and backing down a boat launch like they've probably done countless times. But for some reason—brake failure or human error—the truck, trailer and boat all end up backing into the river. The woman couldn't make it back to shore. The family is in our prayers.

Lesson of the episode: check, re-check and triple check. Life jackets, brakes, pulleys and winches. Better safe than sorry. And never take the river for granted. Any river.

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