Summer is here, and it's a great time to get outdoors and explore all that southwest Montana has to offer.

One of my favorite things to do during the summer is floating the Yellowstone River. In fact, I did my first float this past weekend. My roommate and I floated from Carbella, near Tom Miner Basin to Emigrant. The water is still a bit high and moving pretty fast.

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One piece of advice for anyone looking to get into rafting in Montana is purchasing a copy of Falcon Guides' Paddling Montana. It features information about all of Montana's rivers and includes milage between river access points. It's incredibly helpful when planning a trip on a river you've never been on before.

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Another important thing to think about is making sure you have a durable raft or floatation device. The Yellowstone River can be dangerous or even deadly if you're not prepared. Always have a life jacket handy. Also, make sure to wear sunscreen. I promise you, you'll regret it if you don't.

If you like to fish, bring a rod along with you. Floating down the river allows you to fish in different water all day long. I caught on few trout on my last trip and a lot of whitefish.

Be sure to check current flow reports before your trip. Some of the rapids near Yankee Jim Canyon can be challenging early in the season when the river is high.

If you prefer an easier float, the Madison River is a popular destination for cooling off during the summer months.

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