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Young Montana girl captains 556 miles of Yellowstone River float

Posted at 8:36 AM, Sep 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-03 10:36:21-04

LIVINGSTON – A 12-year-old girl from Livingston, inspired by “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”, spent much of her summer navigating the Yellowstone River.

Vey O’Brian recently captained a total of 556 miles from North Dakota to Montana over the course of 20 days.

“The big thing was, ‘I can do it and I want to do it,’” said O’Brian. “It sounded super fun and I was also excited to be the first one to do this.”

O’Brian said she is the first 12-year-old to captain her own float for the 556-mile journey.

Her mother, Randi O’Brian, said she’s proud of Vey for taking charge and making smart decisions to navigate the water.

“Of course her safety was our number one (concern), which is why we focused so heavily on the river training,” said Randi O’Brian.

She said while the trip length was about 556 miles although the total river mileage was over 650 miles because so many areas were repeated during training to ensure Vey could travel them safely solo.

“I kind of see it as a coming of age as like how I navigate my life how I navigate the river,” said Vey O’Brian.

Vey says the adventure she wants to focus on now is starting seventh grade.