MONTANA - Missoula man Mike Richardson finished a 400-mile paddleboard trip down the Yellowstone River.
It took Richardson three weeks to complete the trip. He arrived in Terry on October 1.
Montana Right Now asked him what he thought of the trip. He said:
"Incredible. I can't put it into words. It's too many emotions. Highs and lows and all of it amazing. Truly a journey of a lifetime. Leaving the river feels like I'm leaving a home or a good friend. It brings tears to my eyes to think about being done."
Richardson said the challenges included a few windy, cold, rainy days near Billings.
"There were definitely two days in a row of chilly weather with a strong head wind right at me," he said. "With low hanging clouds coming right out of Billings. That was rough. It's hard to have fun. It's hard to enjoy it when it's like that."
"I needed to do an average of 20 miles a day in order to finish in my time frame, which I did," he added. "But to get just get 18 miles done on one of those days, it meant paddling for eight hours straight."
Richardson said he really enjoyed the Montana scenery, along with meeting many supportive people. Some of them recognized him from a previous story he did with Montana Right Now:
"It was so fun and encouraging. There was one farmer who stopped his machine and came to the edge of his field. And he was probably eight feet above me on the bank. And, as I was floating by, I was thinking, 'Is he taking a picture of me right now?' And, as I float by, he goes, 'You're almost there. You got about 60 miles to go.' He was a little off on the mileage. I said, 'To where?' He said, 'You're going to Terry, right?' I said, 'I am. How did you know?' He said, 'I saw you on TV! I said, 'You did?' He was like, 'Yeah!' He laughed. I was cracking up. He said, 'Yeah, you know, watch out for this river part up there.' and 'How did you up up there on that part?' He was offering me support and encouragement, just like everybody I met."
Richardson said there were many other people who offered enthusiasm and support:
"People gave me their business cards on the river, saying 'Contact me if you have any problems. If your board pops. If you hurt yourself. I'll come get you. I live in this area. I'll come get you for the 100 miles around here.'"
Richardson is back home in Missoula now. He said he's already thinking about planning another paddleboard trip.
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