Monthly Archives: May 2013

Videos: Paddling on the Beaverhead River

This video was taken before I put my boat in the water at Clark Canyon Dam. It is fun to look at this one. I had no idea what was in store for me.

A few days into my trip I had paddled pretty hard after leaving Beaverhead Rock. I slept real hard as a result. The weather had been cloudy and threatening every day, until this day:

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Videos: The Bicycle Ride-Hell Roaring Creek and Clark Canyon Dam

Haley took this video as I began to prepare for the bicycle leg of this journey.

This video was taken the third day on the last stretch, Highway 15, before arriving at Clark Canyon Dam. The weather bureau had forecasted high wind warnings. I decided to try and see how far I could get. No problem!
(I will have to get some of her videos from days one and two. I can’t seem to find any. The scenery was spectacular.)

And finally, riding over Clark Canyon Dam to end the bicycling leg of the expedition, 100 miles total. My support girls were awesome the entire trip. I sure miss you, Haley and Jeannie!

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More Ski Videos in Hell Roaring Canyon: The Faceplant and The Bivy

We were getting tired by the afternoon and frustrated with the terrain traps we encountered, which kept adding miles on to our trip. Here is a short clip Norm took after my, umm, classic faceplant.

Shortly after the faceplant, we realized we were not going to make it out. Fortunately, our walkie-talkies were able to reach Haley and Jeannie just for a moment, and we notified them we would be staying overnight. We tried not to seem alarmed so they would not worry. That worked. We did the same for ourselves, and just tried to make the best of the situation.

Categories: Expedition, The Route | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Skiing into Hell Roaring Canyon-That’s Where it All Begins

Here is a short video clip of my ski in the Centennial Mountains with Norm Miller back on April 24. (I am just figuring out how to make YouTube work for me.)

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From Holter Lake to Just Before Great Falls

Once back on the river, I continued to be amazed by the rock cliffs and mountains.

Once back on the river, I continued to be amazed by the rock cliffs and mountains.

I think this post will be more of a photo post. I have captioned all of my photos and they will walk you through this stretch and phase of my adventure. Enjoy!

The Gates of the Rocky Mountains are on Holter Lake. I left the Gates and paddled almost to the dam. I camped before entering the last big stretch so I would not be exposed to potential storm winds. Rain fell that night, but enough sun shone the next morning that I could dry things out. My camp was on a pretty point, but the real estate was owned by a heard of black cows. It seemed I was camping in their watering hole. Luckily, I found a big enough patch of grass free of, well,  you know, to pitch my tent. Some camps are better than others.

The watering hole.

The watering hole.

My buddies with whom I shared, sort of, my camp.

My buddies with whom I shared, sort of, my camp.

Tim works for Pennsylvania Power and Light (PPL), and was more than happy to help me portage around Holter Dam. Dave's (Dave from Hauser Dam) uncle was off work that day.

Tim works for Pennsylvania Power and Light (PPL), and was more than happy to help me portage around Holter Dam. Dave’s (Dave from Hauser Dam) uncle was off work that day.

This sign was hanging at the Holter Dam portage take out.

This sign was hanging at the Holter Dam portage take out.

My best friends forever!

My best friends forever!

WOW! A PBR hanging from a bridge! Somebody pinch my. I must be dreaming! I got! I got it!

WOW! A PBR hanging from a bridge! Somebody pinch me. I must be dreaming! I got! I got it!

Sometimes a beer tastes really, really good. This was one of those times!

Sometimes a beer tastes really, really good. This was one of those times!

PBRs don't hang from bridges without a support crew. These two, Will and Ron, are likely suspects. They told me they were going fishing. They say they're just a couple of local dudes trolling for chicks. PBR was good bait,and they got me!

PBRs don’t hang from bridges without a support crew. These two, Will and Ron, are likely suspects. They told me they were going fishing. They say they’re just a couple of local dudes trolling for chicks. PBR was good bait,and they got me!

I paddled hard just to get to the Dearborn Country Inn that Dave Miller wrote, in The Compete Paddler, is a must stop. Well, it is now a private fishing lodge: The Lodge at Eagle Rock. However, Courtney, who is appropriately charged with lodge hospitality, took very good care of me. She is a river, lakes, mountain loving gal. Thank again, Courtney!

I paddled hard just to get to the Dearborn Country Inn that Dave Miller wrote, in The Compete Paddler, is a must stop. Well, it is now a private fishing lodge: The Lodge at Eagle Rock. However, Courtney, who is appropriately charged with lodge hospitality, took very good care of me. She is a river, lakes, mountain loving gal. Thanks again, Courtney!

Courtney and 5-star chef Jeffrey took great care of me while I was camped down by the river under the willow tree. The BEST corn chowder, buttered bread and Montana beers! I will never forget their kindness.

Courtney and 5-star chef Jeffrey took great care of me while I was camped down by the river under the willow tree. The BEST corn chowder, buttered bread and Montana beers! I will never forget their kindness.

The Corps of Discovery camped just upstream from the Lodge, and Lewis wrote this entry in his journal on Thursday, July 18, 1805: "previous to our departure saw a large her of the Bighorned anamals on the immensely high and nearly perpendicular clift opposite to us; on the fase of this clift they walked about and bounded from rock to rock with apparent unconcern where it appared to me that no quadruped could have stood, and from which had they made one false step they must have precipitated at least 500 feet. This anamal appears to frequent such precipes and clifts where in fact they are perfectly secure from the pursuit of the wolf, bear, or even man himself."

The Corps of Discovery camped just upstream from the Lodge, and Lewis wrote this entry in his journal on Thursday, July 18, 1805: “previous to our departure saw a large her of the Bighorned anamals on the immensely high and nearly perpendicular clift opposite to us; on the fase of this clift they walked about and bounded from rock to rock with apparent unconcern where it appared to me that no quadruped could have stood, and from which had they made one false step they must have precipitated at least 500 feet. This anamal appears to frequent such precipes and clifts where in fact they are perfectly secure from the pursuit of the wolf, bear, or even man himself.”

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I was so grateful for the opportunity to take a shower at the Lodge. And what beats all is the fact that it was the most wonderful outdoor shower with steamy hot water. What a blessing this magical place was!

I was so grateful for the opportunity to take a shower at the Lodge. And what beats all is the fact that it was the most wonderful outdoor shower with steamy hot water. What a blessing this magical place was!

Then, sweet Courtney brought me breakfast the next morning. I wish you the best, dear. I hope your life brings you great joy! Do what you love, and love what you do!

Then, sweet Courtney brought me breakfast the next morning. I wish you the best, dear. I hope your life brings you great joy! Do what you love, and love what you do!

The next morning at the Lodge, I had the pleasure of meeting more staff: Monica (I hope that is correct), Heli, and Kat, shown here. Kat was enthusiastically interested in my adventure and had only been working at the Lodge for 13 days. She is from the Midwest ;).

The next morning at the Lodge, I had the pleasure of meeting more staff: Monica (I hope that is correct), Heli, and Kat, shown here. Kat was enthusiastically interested in my adventure and had only been working at the Lodge for 13 days. She is from the Midwest ;).

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Kat showed me this monument that they had found buried in the river when renovating the Lodge. They dug it out of the sand and placed it above their fireplace.

Kat showed me this monument that they had found buried in the river when renovating the Lodge. They dug it out of the sand and placed it above their fireplace. It has the same journal entry that I had posted on Facebook earlier that day.

Before I left the lodge, a couple of Great Falls paddlers stopped by to say hi. Bob (r) and Mark.

Before I left the lodge, a couple of Great Falls paddlers stopped by to say hi. Bob (r) and Mark. Nice kayaks, guys!

Beautiful glassy waters were a much appreciated condition on the river.

Beautiful glassy waters were a much appreciated condition on the river.

Not sure if these are cormorants or cranes. I think the former.

Not sure if these are cormorants or cranes. I think the former.

This little white calf caught my attention because all of the others were black. Makes one think about genetics and chromosomes, a little middle-school science.

This little white calf caught my attention because all of the others were black. Makes one think about genetics and chromosomes, a little middle-school science.

Weather is always something to keep an eye on.

Weather is always something to keep an eye on.

As evening came on, that special light appeared. Taking photos was pure joy. I like starting later in the morning and paddling later in the evening.

As evening came on, that special light appeared. Taking photos was pure joy. I like starting later in the morning and paddling later in the evening.

This is one of my favorites from that 'special light' evening.

This is one of my favorites from that ‘special light’ evening.

And, as the sun begins to set, the sky becomes painted with brush stroked of color.

And, as the sun begins to set, the sky becomes painted with brush stroked of color.

Stunningly gorgeous evening.

Stunningly gorgeous evening.

The natural bird sanctuary across the way.

The natural bird sanctuary across the way.

Friday (May 24) night's camp, and the grand finale of photo opportunities. Breathtaking sunset.

Friday (May 24) night’s camp, and the grand finale of photo opportunities. Breathtaking sunset.

John from Great Falls happened to call me on the phone as I came out of the canyon and there were ample cell towers. He and a couple of paddlers wanted to meet up and paddle with me. Great! I always welcome paddle companions. L-R: Sherri, John and Bob and, they DID find me thanks to my SPOT Tracker.

John from Great Falls happened to call me on the phone as I came out of the canyon and there were ample cell towers. He and a couple of paddlers wanted to meet up and paddle with me. Great! I always welcome paddle companions. L-R: Sherri, John and Bob and, they DID find me thanks to my SPOT Tracker.

That night I tried to paddle to the Corp of Discovery Canoe Camp. Turns out it was covered with homes. That is okay, I found a spot at dark and slept on a bed of mint. Soggy but no Mosquitos, and rather fragrant.

That night I tried to paddle to the Corp of Discovery Canoe Camp. Turns out it was covered with homes. That is okay, I found a spot at dark and slept on a bed of mint. Soggy but no Mosquitos, and rather fragrant.

I will leave you with one of my favorite photos. In the midst of premier fishing country, I realized fishing is definitely a family affair.

I will leave you with one of my favorite photos. In the midst of premier fishing country, I realized fishing is definitely a family affair.

I hope you enjoyed this stretch of my journey as much as I did. Great Falls is deserving of its own post. I was able to paddle from there to Fort Benton in just a few hours, and here I sit in the Grand Union Hotel trying to finish this post. I feel good about this accomplishment and so, if the rain stops tomorrow, I will hit the river again. Fair warning, it may be awhile before I can post again as I am heading into some incredible wilderness area, including the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument. Be patient, and be sure and visit my Facebook page if you are able.

See you again soon!

Love your Big Muddy!

Warm regards, Janet

Categories: Expedition, Missouri River Relief | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

From Lakeside on Hauser to Gates of the Rocky Mountains

I left Lakeside on Hauser on Tuesday morning, May 21. I said good bye to Conrad and Cheryl Hale, and their restaurant and bar. What a wonderful layover. Turns out the night before Kelley’s video piece was aired on NBC’s Beartooth Affiliate in Helena.IMG_1081 You can view the Weather Wise segment by clicking on the link below: http://www.beartoothnbc.com/weather/weather-wise/35309-weather-wise-paddling-the-missouri-river.html I had a lot of fun paddling down Hauser Lake because I had a tailwind for the first time and was able to break out my sail.  Oh boy, was that fun! IMG_1083 IMG_1082Right around here a man in a boat hollered out to me, “Hey!” I waved and said Hi. He asked, “Are you paddling to St. Louis?” I said, “Yes, how did you know?” He answered, “I think I just saw you on television last night.”  Oh. My. Word. I couldn’t help but laugh. Kelley had interviewed me on her cell phone and, apparently, had written up a story that was aired on their Weather Wise segment of the news.  Funny.  Good job, Kelley. I made it to Hauser Dam in no time. Will Garvin was waiting for me there. He had told be that he would help me with my portage. Ron Lukenbill would be there as well, but could not make it until 2:30.  I believe I pulled in at around 1:45.  As it turned out, I saw a Pennsylvania Power and Light employee in a truck and thought, what the heck, I will ask him if he wouldn’t mind throwing my gear on the back of his truck and driving it down to the put in.  He said, “Of course I will.” Then Dave drove up and they loaded my boat into his truck.  Turns out the PPL offers portage service, you just have to call ahead if you need it.  We had no idea!

Dave and Dan who work for Pennsylvania Power and Light helped with the portage.

Dave and Dan who work for Pennsylvania Power and Light helped with the portage.

Dave  and Dan of PPL.  We had a great time talking to them. Dave's uncle works at the next dam, Holter Dam, and he said he would call ahead and let them know I was coming. Awesome!

Dave (R) and Dan (L) of PPL. We had a great time talking to them. Dave’s uncle works at the next dam, Holter Dam, and he said he would call ahead and let them know I was coming. Awesome!

Will was surprised at the assistance we received from PPL, and, well, Ron was surprised that the portage was complete by the time he showed up.  All good!

Will was surprised at the assistance we received from PPL, and, well, Ron was surprised that the portage was complete by the time he showed up. All good!

I had a fun time floating on down with some current, but it was a only a short time before the river soon became Holter Lake.  I was excited about proceeding on because the Gates of the Rocky Mountains was just ahead. Plus, seeing my pelicans made me feel at home and in good company.

My faithful companions the pelicans.

My faithful companions the pelicans.

Approaching the upriver entrance to the Gates of the Mountains.

Approaching the upriver entrance to the Gates of the Mountains.

The Gates of the Mountains is a special place for me because of the Alpine environment. I am very much at home in this type of environment after living 11 years in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California.

The Gates of the Mountains is a special place for me because of the Alpine environment. I am very much at home in this type of environment after living 11 years in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California.

I paddled through the gate and immediately felt as though I was in an enchanted land. I knew where Lewis’ camp was so I paddled ahead to check it out. Perhaps, I would camp at the very same spot? I felt somewhat like a kid in a candy story.  Until, of course, the tour boat passed by.  Seemed rather odd in such a magical place, but tours have frequented this area for many years. I am happy that lots of people get to experience such a special place on the river.

Not unusual in the Gates of the Mountains: the tour boat. People were friendly and waved, as did I.

Not unusual in the Gates of the Mountains: the tour boat.

I ended finding a fantastic campsite in the trees on the left. Right across the river is Fields Gulch where Lewis and his party camped on July 19. 1805.

I ended up finding a fantastic campsite in the trees on the left.
Right across the river is Fields Gulch where Lewis and his party camped on July 19. 1805.

This is the view looking out from my camp. Amazing!

This is the view looking out from my camp. Amazing!

This is a photo I took the next morning with that early morning special light.  It was magical in the canyon.

This is a photo I took the next morning with that early morning special light.
It was magical in the canyon.

During the afternoon, after the rain stopped, I paddled down to Meriwether Rec Area and hiked up the trail to the overlook. What a lovely way to spend the day!, high up into the mountains.

During the afternoon, after the rain stopped, I paddled down to Meriwether Rec Area and hiked up the trail to the overlook. What a lovely way to spend the day, high up into the mountains.

Looking down on the river where I began my hike.

Looking down on the river where I began my hike.

Near the top

Near the top

Some information at the overlook about the Mann Gulch Fire, in which 13 men lost their lives.

Some information at the overlook about the Mann Gulch Fire, in which 13 men lost their lives.

Mann Gulch.

Mann Gulch

Incredible vista where I stopped on the way down and took some photos. This is the reason the area is called Gates of the Mountains. These are some incredible mountains.

Incredible vista where I stopped on the way down and took some photos. This is the reason the area is called Gates of the Mountains. These are some incredible mountains.

After my hike up to the Mann Gulch lookout, I decided to have a fire. I had collected firewood earlier that morning.

After my hike up to the Mann Gulch lookout, I decided to have a fire. I had collected firewood earlier that morning.

 Meriwether Lewis, July 19, 1805 (he camped right across the river): "...this evening we entered much the most remarkable cliffs that we have seen yet. These cliffs rise from the waters edge on either side perpendicularly to the hight of 1200 feet. Every object here wears a dark and gloomy aspect. The towering and projecting rocks in many places seem ready to tumble on us. The river appears to have forced it's way through the immense body of solid rock for the distance of 5 3/4 miles and where it makes it's exit below has thrown on either side vast columns of rocks mountains high."


Meriwether Lewis, July 19, 1805 (he camped right across the river): “…this evening we entered much the most remarkable clifts that we have seen yet. These clifts rise from the waters edge on either side perpendicularly to the hight of 1200 feet. Every object here wears a dark and gloomy aspect. The towering and projecting rocks in many places seem ready to tumble on us. The river appears to have forced it’s way through the immense body of solid rock for the distance of 5 3/4 miles and where it makes it’s exit below has thrown on either side vast columns of rocks mountains high.”

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I loved my stay here in the Gates of the Mountains.

I loved my stay here in the Gates of the Mountains.

On the way out I turned around and took a picture of the Gates on the down river side. Here, the Gate looks open.

On the way out I turned around and took a picture of the Gates on the down river side. Here, the Gate looks open.

But, just a little further down, the Gate looks closed. It is somewhat of an optical illusion, hiding the fact that the river flows right through the magnificent canyon ahead.

But, just a little further down, the Gate looks closed. It is somewhat of an optical illusion, hiding the fact that the river flows right through the magnificent canyon ahead.

The fact that I was at the Gates of the Mountains only one week ago is hard to believe. I have traveled through Holter Reservoir and portaged around its dam. I then paddled down the river through what is referred to as Mid-Canyon. I have many photos of this stretch all the way to Great Falls. My next stop is Fort Benton today. I have a portage ride around the Great Falls dams today by John. You will get to meet some wonderful river friends that I have met in the last week. I hope to be able to put up another post before I leave Fort Benton. I want to stay there a couple of days and absorb some of its history, which is vast. I will leave you here with a sunset photo from Friday night, an extraordinary evening of paddling with lots of special light, and one of my favorite camp spots (there are a lot of them!)

Friday (May 24) night's camp between Cascade and Ulm, on the way to Great Falls. I was camped on a sandy beached island across from a large natural bird sanctuary (lots of tall trees).

Friday (May 24) night’s camp between Cascade and Ulm, on the way to Great Falls. I was camped on a sandy beached island across from a large natural bird sanctuary (lots of tall trees).

See you again soon.  Keeping the hollow side up. Do what you love, and love what you do! Live fast ~ Paddle slow Janet

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Paddling from Canyon Ferry Lake to Lakeside on Hauser

Rainy weather is included in the expedition package. I am so happy I am outfitted with Kokatat gear. Warm and comfortable always.

Rainy weather is included in the expedition package. I am so happy To be outfitted with Kokatat gear. Warm and comfortable always.

Love my pelicans

Love my pelicans

Canyon Ferry is my first major lake of the journey. The lake approximately 25 miles long. Winds can kick up in minutes producing large and dangerous swells, so caution must be adhered to at all times. I entered into the lake under calm conditions with a low pressure blanketing the area. The entrance into the lake takes you through a channelized section that resembles a slow gradual sloping lazy waterway with waterfowl all around standing in shallow waters and singing songs and chattering amongst each other across this watered plains area. In the distance it seems as though you are looking down towards the lake. Then, before you know it, you are IN the lake and the three-mile paddle towards the western shore begins.

Channelized entrance inti Canyon Ferry Lake.

Channelized entrance into Canyon Ferry Lake.

I encountered some rollers due to a light wind in the afternoon, but nothing dangerous. I kept a very close eye out for whitecaps and stayed close to shore.

I encountered some rollers due to a light wind in the afternoon, but nothing dangerous. I kept a very close eye out for whitecaps and stayed close to shore.

Like being in "paradise."

Like being in “paradise.”

Love, love, love this place!

Love, love, love this place!

Good morning, World! A break in the clouds helped produce this view from my bed.

Good morning, World! A break in the clouds helped produce this view from my bed.

When paddling big lakes, you have to pick a point on the distant horizon, which is often miles away. Then you point your boat at that spot and just paddle, stroke after stroke after stroke. I fell in love with my Swift paddle even greater as its light weight and easy entry into the water made my paddling seem effortless. My paddle literally became my best friend.

I love my Shasta kayak and especially my Swift paddles.

I love my Shasta kayak and especially my Swift paddles.

Ron Lukenbill and me below the dam.

Ron Lukenbill and me below the dam.

Waiting for me at the dam was Ron Lukenbill, who generously had donated $100 to the expedition, paid for 30 triple-A batteries, bought me lunch, and helped with my portage around the dam. Ron is an educator and, as it turns out, grew up in Sacramento, CA, my home town! I swear there is an uncanny bond amongst Californians, strange as that may seem. Also helping me with the portage were Will Garvin and his lovely wife, Felomina. They have been so helpful in many ways, including feeding me dinner and allowing me to shower at their house last night (May 19).

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Will and Felomina Garvin. Wonderful folks with lots of interesting life stories. Will paddled from Helena, MT, to Helena, AR.

Onward down Hauser Lake, leaving sunny skies that turned into a thunderhead with lightning and wind, forcing me to stop at Lakeview on Hauser Lake. What a fantastic stopover this has been! Conrad and Cheryl Hale own this very cool lakeside resort with a beautiful beach, cozy lawn to camp on, great bar overlooking the lake, and a lovely restaurant with great food and good people hanging around.

Lakeside on Hauser. Great place to camp. All I had to do was buy dinner and a glass of wine and camping was free!

Lakeside on Hauser. Great place to camp. All I had to do was buy dinner and a glass of wine and camping was free!

Beautiful spot on the lake. Can you hear Jimmy Buffet singing?

Beautiful spot on the lake. Can you hear Jimmy Buffet singing?

I met Lena and her dog, Ole, who is a Newfoundland, the same breed the Corps of Discovery took along on their expedition. Beautiful dog. And, Lena is pretty cute, too.

I met Lena and her dog, Ole, who is a Newfoundland, the same breed the Corps of Discovery took along on their expedition. Beautiful dog. And, Lena is pretty cute, too.

And, local Helena band, Quarry Road, delighted the crowd Saturday night with great music. See what I mean, great place to layover!

And, local Helena band, Quarry Road, delighted the crowd Saturday night with great music. See what I mean, great place to layover

Conrad and Cheryl Hanes are the owners of Lakeside on Hauser.  They are very hands on owners and run a very successful seasonal business as a result. Things are busy for them as they command this retirement project of theirs, but they have October to look forward to when they return to Billings for the winter.

Conrad and Cheryl Hale owners of Lakeside on Hauser.

Conrad and Cheryl Hale owners of Lakeside on Hauser.

I am so grateful for the Hale’s hospitality the last couple of days. They are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, big have invited me in for coffee and to work on this blog. Cheryl just fixed me yogurt, blueberries and toast, contributing to a very memorable layover and making it difficult to leave! Actually, the rain is also making it difficult to leave, and it has started raining again as I write this blog post. Perhaps there will be a break in the weather later today. In the meantime, I have a very comfortable place to hang out with great folks!

This is where I hung out most of yesterday while it rained. So lovely!

This is where I hung out most of yesterday while it rained. So lovely!

Finally, Will and some of his friends came to pick me up and take me into Helena so I could shower at Will and Felomina’s home. Because they are doing some remodeling, their washing machine is out of commission, so Joanne and Philip volunteered to do a load of laundry for me. How great is that!? I very much enjoyed their company during our brief time together. Joanne is a kayaking instructor and works on ski patrol. Philip is a singer songwriter guitar-playing blues musician. Wow, we sure have a lot in common!

Philip and Joanne from Helena, MT.

Philip and Joanne from Helena, MT.

Thanks to all of you great Helena folks, and your generous hospitality. Remember Robert, Donna and Paul from Beaverhead Rock? They are also from Helena. A great city providing quality Montanans.

I am finally caught up on my posts. This makes me feel good about moving ahead on my next leg of this journey. This adventure has been nothing short of phenomenal! And, who knows what the future will hold? Can it get any better than this? Wow, three more months can produce incredible experiences.

I hope you enjoy the ride!

Empowerment, education, and environmental stewardship. Think outside the boat!

Categories: Expedition, Missouri River | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Three Forks to Canyon Ferry Lake

Kristin cinching up her kayak.

Kristin cinching up her kayak before leaving Livingston.

I was thrilled to find out that Kristin was able to paddle out of Three Forks with me, and she was happy, too.  She was going to paddle her kayak after almost a year. Paddling with Norm is easily done in their canoe, so this day, May 15,  she would enjoy the independence of paddling her kayak solo. After a quick stop in Bozeman for a few supplies, we were on our way.

I thought I had lightened my load, but not sure.

I thought I had lightened my load, but not sure.

Getting ready to shove off at Three Forks, the Missouri River headwaters.

Getting ready to shove off at Three Forks, the Missouri River headwaters.

We enjoyed incredible scenery all along the way. We were happy girls!

We enjoyed incredible scenery all along the way. We were happy girls!

Beautiful cliffs

Beautiful cliffs

The train was fun to watch as it rolled right along lake's edge.

The train was fun to watch as it rolled right along lake’s edge.

My beloved pelicans bring me a peaceful easy feeling whenever they're around.

My beloved pelicans bring me a peaceful easy feeling whenever they’re around. We saw about six people silhouetted standing on top of one of these mountains. We imagined how intimidating the Blackfeet Indians must have been when lining the ridge tops.

Norm met us at the dam just as we pulled into the ramp. We loaded up the car with my stuff and the kayak and drove around the dam to the put in about a half mile away. It is there we said our good-byes and hugged one another. We are not sure when we will see each other again. The next day, Thursday, I took off for Canyon Ferry Lake and camped just short of entering the channels leading into the lake.

This campsite was on an island and was so green and lush. Of course, it rained most of the night.

This campsite was on an island and was so green and lush. Of course, it rained most of the night.

A ray of weather hope the next morning. The rain stopped for awhile.

A ray of weather hope as I peaked my head out of the tent. The rain stopped for awhile.

The next day I set out for Canyon Ferry Lake. The countryside and vistas and hospitality of the people continues to blow my mind!

More to come…taking advantage of a rain delay at Lakeside with wifi in my tent!

Live fast ~ Paddle slow (I may have to switch that around pretty soon. :))

Categories: Expedition, Missouri River | 4 Comments

Paddling the Jefferson River

Heading down the beautiful Jefferson River

Heading down the beautiful Jefferson River

On Wednesday, May 8, I left my very public, yet cozy, camp at Twin Bridges. It was a little strange camping right on the river in a town park, but the park was designed for bik deners, so worked well for this paddler, too.  I took my time packing so I would be rested, and well prepared, for this stretch on the Jefferson River. I grabbed a tomato, apple and three avocados, along with some cinnamon raisin English muffins, before I left. I also charged all of my electronic devices.

Leaving Twin Bridges after a pleasant two-day layover.

Leaving Twin Bridges after a pleasant two-day layover.

Couple of local Twin Bridges fisher guys. They said fishing is just an excuse to get out on the river. I could totally relate. Really nice guys, kindred river spirits.

Couple of local Twin Bridges fisher guys. They said fishing is just an excuse to get out on the river. I could totally relate. Really nice guys, kindred river spirits.

Danger of further harm to Blue Moon has diminished because of the much higher volume of water. The Ruby River empties in just upriver from Twin Bridges, and the Big Hole River just downstream.  Now we are talking gorgeous and pleasurable paddling from here to Three Forks, which is where I anticipate arriving on Saturday. I have been looking forward to this stretch of river since I first decided to do a source start. I did not want to miss out on paddling the Jefferson River. I think you will see why:

Really fun river to paddle, the Jefferson.

Really fun river to paddle, the Jefferson.

Thunderstorm brewing

Thunderstorm brewing

Montana mountains

Montana mountains

Teepee on the Jefferson River

Teepee on the Jefferson River

Took this after applying suntan lotion to my face. As you can see, without a mirror I am kind of a mess.

Took this after applying suntan lotion to my face. As you can see,
without a mirror I am kind of a mess.

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Eagle’s Nest

A beaver has just about nailed this tree.

A beaver has just about nailed this tree.

A beaver dam

A beaver den

A beaver

A beaver

I saw a lot of deer, but was never able to get my camera out in time. This one sure is pretty.

I saw a lot of deer, but was never able to get my camera out in time. This one sure is pretty.

Gorgeous scenery abounds!

Gorgeous scenery abounds!

I thought these birds were snow geese, but it turns out (after we researched a little) they are Trumpeter Swans. Fantastic!

I thought these birds were snow geese, but it turns out (after we researched a little) they are Trumpeter Swans. Fantastic!

A crane sitting in its nest high above in the trees.

A Great Blue Heron sitting in its nest high above in the trees.

Nice man on the Jefferson, Jim Hicks, invited me up to his custom cabin once he found out I was headed for St. Louis. That about floored him.

Nice man on the Jefferson, Jim Hicks, invited me up to his custom cabin once he found out I was headed for St. Louis. That about floored him.

Jim Hicks' custom cabin on the Jefferson River.

Jim Hicks’ custom cabin on the Jefferson River.

Jim Hicks' rescue dogs. Jim has 800 yards of Jefferson River frontage, three cabins, some horses, and is ex-military and currently employed as Ted Turner's horticulturalist. Cool guy.

Jim Hicks’ rescue dogs. Jim has 800 yards of Jefferson River frontage, three cabins, some horses, and is ex-military and currently employed as Ted Turner’s horticulturalist. Cool guy.

Camped on a huge rock bar, I decided to take a walk before heading out for the day.

Camped on a huge rock bar, I decided to take a walk before heading out for the day.

Flock of pelicans sitting in the water.

Flock of pelicans sitting in the water.

I love this bald eagle photo. He is looking right into your eyes, it seems!

I love this bald eagle photo. He is looking right into your eyes, it seems!

This is where I camped Friday night, at the diversion dam. Camping here made the portage around the rocks much easier. Plus, it was spectacularly gorgeous.

This is where I camped Friday night, at the diversion dam. Camping here made the portage around the rocks much easier. Plus, it was spectacularly gorgeous.

This beaver came to greet me as I pulled into my diversion dam camp Friday night.

This beaver came to greet me as I pulled into my diversion dam camp Friday night.

Sun peaking out from behind the rock at my diversion dam camp. Everything is always better with a little sunshine.

Sun peaking out from behind the rock at my diversion dam camp. Everything is always better with a little sunshine.

At 2:00 Norm and I met, miraculously within 4 minutes of each other, at Drouillard Bridge. Drouillard was a civil interpreter for Lewis and Clark. He was also half French and half Shawneed Indian from his mother’s side. There is a lot of history surrounding him in this area. Norm and I had about a 2 1/2 hour paddle together before we met Kristin at Three Forks, the headwaters of the Missouri River where the Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin Rivers converge.

My pelicans even took to Norm and did not mind his photographing them.

My pelicans even took to Norm and did not mind his photographing them.

As a result, Norm got this beautiful photo of a pelican lifting off.

As a result, Norm got this beautiful photo of a pelican lifting off.

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Norm and I at Three Forks, the headwaters of the Missouri River, after paddling together for about three hours.

Norm and I at Three Forks, the headwaters of the Missouri River, after paddling together for about three hours.

The lovely Kristin Walker, Norm's girlfriend.

The lovely Kristin Walker, Norm’s girlfriend.

Norm and girlfriend Kristin. I LOVE these guys!! Founders of the wonderful Base Camp International in Livingston, MT.

Norm and girlfriend Kristin. I LOVE these guys!! Founders of the wonderful Base Camp International in Livingston, MT.

Me and Norm. This moment we have been envisioning since last July.

Me and Norm. This moment we have been envisioning since last July.

This sign at Three Forks claims you can reach the Mississippi in 2.5 months by inner tube. Umm, really?

This sign at Three Forks claims you can reach the Mississippi in 2.5 months by inner tube. Umm, really?

A glance at the first part of my paddle tomorrow, Wednesday, May 15.

A glance at the first part of my paddle tomorrow, Wednesday, May 15.

I’ll be leaving tomorrow from Three Forks to head down the Big Muddy!  I am not sure when I will be able to update with photos again. Please visit my Facebook Page, LoveYourBigMuddy Expedition, to stay tuned in.

Life is Good.

Live fast ~ Paddle slow.

Keep the round side down, and the hollow side up.

If you can dream it, live it!

Think outside the boat!

Categories: Expedition | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Biking and, finally, paddling

The base of Hell Roaring Canyon, and on down the creek of the same name.

The base of Hell Roaring Canyon, and on down the creek of the same name.

I am sitting in the Shack in Twin Bridges on Tuesday, May 7, a layover day for me after 6 days on the Beaverhead River. I really want to post some photos for my blog followers before I head down the Jefferson River tomorrow. I am running short on time so I will do the best I can here. Of course, my Facebook page contains much more frequent updates. Please like the page if you can. Thanks, all! I appreciate your interest in my adventure!

Long stretches of exquisite beauty. And, a little bit of push.

Long stretches of exquisite beauty. And, a little bit of push, as in stamina.

Starting at the base of Hell Roaring Canyon, and on down Hell Roaring Creek.

Starting at the base of Hell Roaring Canyon, and on down Hell Roaring Creek.

Beautiful vistas

Beautiful vistas

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What an incredible bike ride! Just breathtaking!

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Long gorgeous and gradual downhills.

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Our stop at the end of the first day. Red Rock Creek below the Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.

 

The start of the second day began with a, yes, flat tire out in the middle of NOwhere! We got 'er done, though. Survival of the fittest.

The start of the second day began with a, yes, flat tire out in the middle of NOwhere! We got ‘er done, though. Survival of the fittest.

 

Long stretches of exquisite beauty. And, a little bit of push, as in stamina.

Long stretches of exquisite beauty. And, a little bit of push, as in stamina.

Finally made it to Lima Dam. Still, onward to the town of Lima.

Finally made it to Lima Dam. Still, onward to the town of Lima.

Lima Dam

Lima Dam

The windy, as in lots of turns, Red Rock River.

The windy, as in lots of turns, Red Rock River.

From the town of Lima I followed the old Highway 191 all but seven miles of the 31 mile stretch. Very peaceful. My support crew followed me closely.

From the town of Lima I followed the old Highway 191 all but seven miles of the 31 mile stretch to Clark Canyon Dam. Very peaceful. My support crew followed me closely.

Two bison mommas and their babies. They had their eye on my from afar.

Two bison mommas and their babies. They had their eye on my from afar.

Finally, after 90-somethin' miles, we made it to Clark Canyon Reservoir and Dam.

Finally, after 90-somethin’ miles, we made it to Clark Canyon Reservoir and Dam in 3 days.

Clark Canyon Reservoir

Clark Canyon Reservoir

Finally, on Wednesday, May 1st, I started paddling. The Beaverhead River was quite a challenge. It is shallow with tight turns and lots of brush producing strainers in which to get entangled if not careful. I came close to dumping my first day, but was saved by the wheel of my wheeleez, my portaging device. I may have sprained my hand in the entanglement, but still paddling. I was worn out for the first three days trying to save Blue Moon from sheer destruction. I have two holes from the second day just above waterline. Duct tape is the miracle cure!

After 3 days of hard paddling, on Saturday I had 25 mph headwinds challenging me. I stayed strong and true to course, though, and after a 9 and a half hour paddle, and close to Beaverhead Rock, I finally found an island to camp on.  Turns out that Robert and Donna were out cruizing around on Robert’s property and they ended up inviting me up for cocktails and chicken dinner. And, a shower, laundry, and place to sleep on their couch!  What a wonderful miracle! Strangers are TRULY an opportunity to make friends. What a great visit we had, which included Paul, too. The three of them are long-time friends from Helena.

My first night out. Cozy camp!

My first night out. Cozy camp!

My first rapids. I skipped the upper and paddled through the lower parts of this.

My first rapids. I skipped the upper and paddled through the lower parts of this.

Strainer, Grrrr! They can flip you over, swamp your boat, punch holes in your ship, and twist your hands and arms. I am happy to be through this challenging part of the Beaverhead River.

Strainers, Grrrr! They can flip you over, swamp your boat, punch holes in your ship, and twist your hands and arms. I am happy to be through this challenging part of the Beaverhead River.

My pelican friends followed me all day Saturday, and after many bends, they finally decided I was okay. They stayed put until I got this photo. Then, they split for the day. Good companions they were.

My pelican friends followed me all day Saturday, and after many bends, they finally decided I was okay. They stayed put until I got this photo. Then, they split for the day. Good companions they were.

Good bye, my friends.

Good bye, my friends.

Diversion dams force me to unload, carry stuff to the other side, place my boat on my wheeleez, pull it over, reload stuff, and take off again.  This particular easy portage took me an hour and a half.

Diversion dams force me to unload, carry stuff to the other side, place my boat on my wheeleez, pull it over, reload stuff, and take off again. This particular easy portage took me an hour and a half.

AFter a long day of paddling on Saturday against 25 mph winds, Robert and Donna happen to be cruizing Robert's property adjacent to Beaverhead Rock. After seeing their Private Propertay signs, with notice that the property was patrolled, I was concerned and so immediately set off to do some peace talking. Turned out they invited me up for cocktails, dinner, laundry, shower, couch, and steak and eggs for dinner. What a wonderful find these folks were, however it happened. L-R, Robert, Donna, and Paul.

AFter a long day of paddling on Saturday against 25 mph winds, Robert and Donna happen to be cruizing Robert’s property adjacent to Beaverhead Rock when I found an island to camp on. After seeing their Private Property signs, with notice that the property was patrolled, I was concerned and so immediately set off to do some peace talking. Turned out they invited me up for cocktails, dinner, laundry, shower, couch, and steak and eggs for breakfast. What a wonderful find these folks were, however it happened. L-R, Robert, Donna, and Paul.

View of Beaverhead Rock from Robert's "cabin"

View of Beaverhead Rock from Robert’s “cabin”

And, another view from the cabin.

And, another view from the cabin.

Not sure what's up with this rancher. Makin' life difficult.

Not sure what’s up with this rancher. Makin’ life difficult.

Besides the pelicans, the muskrats, and sometimes beavers, are my favorite companions. The muskrats are the dolphins of the river. They lead you around the bends. I adore them!

Besides the pelicans, the muskrats, and sometimes beavers, are my favorite companions. The muskrats are the dolphins of the river. They lead you around the bends. I adore them!

Onward towards Twin Bridges. Tomorrow, Wednesday, May 8, I head out on the Jefferson River, my long awaited premium stretch of river.

Onward towards Twin Bridges. Tomorrow, Wednesday, May 8, I head out on the Jefferson River, my long awaited premium stretch of river.

Finally, I have successfully updated this blog. You are a concern of mine, and I want to keep you posted. It is getting dark now. I have finished most of my pizza, a couple of glasses of wine, had a shower earlier today, and have a nice cozy tent to sleep in tonight. I look forward to resuming paddling on the Jefferson River tomorrow. Twin Bridges is an awesome small town of 400. Come and stay if you ever have the chance. I understand the fishing cannot be beat!

My camp at this very cool Bike Park on the waterfront in Twin Bridges, MT. Loved my stay here. Hope to come back. Plus, Mayor Tom is totally laid back, hence the mellow river community of 400 people. Love it!

My camp at this very cool Bike Park on the waterfront in Twin Bridges, MT. Loved my stay here. Hope to come back. Plus, Mayor Tom is totally laid back, hence the mellow river community of 400 people. Love it!

I hope you are enjoying my adventure. I am comforted knowing you are following me and interested in my journey. It has truly turned out to be an epic adventure, and it has only just begun.

Live fast ~ Paddle slow. Be safe and cherish the moment!

Categories: Expedition, The Route | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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Missouri River 2013 - Mississippi River 2016 - Yukon River 2017

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