Sequoia National Park has a variety of rapid rivers that turn into waterfalls. The waterfalls and rivers are a beauty to behold, but they can be quite treacherous. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to participate in the shore-based swift water rescue training. Ranger Mitch provided us with a brief presentation on how they attempt to perform water rescues and how dangerous the rivers can be even though some spots are only two feet deep!
I learned that the rangers use ‘throw bags’ which are bags equipped with rope. These bags are used to aid in water rescue. The rangers take a bit of rope out of the bags and with their dominant hand they toss the bag to the person in need of rescuing.
After the presentation, we practiced throwing the bag to each other. The rangers then showed us points in the river that are especially dangerous, and optimal spots to rescue someone such as eddies, where the water swirls upstream from passing over a rock or other barriers.
One of the lessons I took from this training is to always remember to practice safe exploration in National Parks especially near bodies of water.