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. :))

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!

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!

The Ultimate Source of the Missouri River-Brower’s Spring

Sawtelle Peak FAA Road gate.
Sawtelle Peak FAA Road gate.

The first thing we needed to do to get the Brower’s Spring was to get throught the Federal Aviation Administration gate that guards the road up Sawtelle Peak.  We needed to ske from one of the switchbacks over to Jefferson Peak and up and over the Continental Divide into the Hell Roaring Creek Drainage where the spring is located.

Curt Judy unlocked the gate for us so we could ski over to Jefferson Peak from the road switchback. Thanks, Curt!
Curt Judy unlocked the gate for us so we could ski over to Jefferson Peak from the road switchback. Thanks, Curt!
Mount Jefferson from on top of the bowl.
Mount Jefferson from on top of the bowl.

This is the top of Mount Jefferson which stands at 10,200 ft. We traversed the top of the bowl and dropped into the Hell Roaring Creek drainage off to the left.  This was a spectacular moment in the ski.

You can see the Teton Range from on top.
You can see the Teton Range from on top.
Sometime at the beginning of our ski in to the spring.
Sometime at the beginning of our ski in to the spring.
Your can see the triangle where I am standing and the push pin where the spring coordinates are, almost touching.
Your can see the triangle where I am standing and the push pin where the spring coordinates are, almost touching.

GPS showed me I was soooooo close to the spring.  The surroundings indicated to me that I was likely standing on or near the spring. I could feel it in my heart and soul. My heart was racing and I was excited.

Brower's Spring just inside the trees in center of photo.
Brower’s Spring just inside the trees in center of photo.

I skied out of those trees where I am sure I was on or near the spring. Rod Wellington, who has also been there, confirmed that the area looked familiar to him.

We even got some turns in.
We even got some turns in. Unfortunately, no photos of our figure eights. Darn!

We assumed that the trip would entail an easy seven-mile ski out of Hell Roaring Canyon.  We were mistaken. Because of the snow cover, we needed to be cautious of avalanche danger, and often fell prey to terrain traps, which produced steep drop-offs, false canyons, and unskiable gulleys.  Because of this, we were destined to stay over night, which neither of us prepared for. In fact, we absent-mindedly left the car with no means of fire or sleeping gear. We were both tense until we gave in to the fact we were staying the night.  Then, our priority switched to surviving the night. We never doubted our ability to do so.

We were at the top of that distant ridge at one point. You could see the Sawtoothe Range in Idaho.
We were at the top of that distant ridge at one point. You could see the Sawtoothe Range in Idaho. We had to be vigilant about avalanche danger.
Norm getting water from Hell Roaring Creek.
Norm getting water from Hell Roaring Creek. At this point we knew we were sleeping in the mountains.
Norm building the shelter.
Norm building the shelter. We both took part in this important project.
The PBR Haley threw in our pack. Happy we had the extra calories before a long cold night.
The PBR Haley threw in our pack. Happy we had the extra calories before a long cold night.

I shivered uncontrollably all night. I was only able to sleep for about five minutes. Norm was the same way. Somehow, the hours past and it was time to go. I am thankful to have survived and avoided hypothermia. I had trailmix to eat and a granola bar which we split. I had to eat one of the granola bars for calories just after going to bed. Perhaps, it helped, I could not tell.

Beautiful full moon night, despite the situation.
Beautiful full moon night, despite the situation.
Hell Roaring Creek
Hell Roaring Creek
We skied 12 miles instead of 7 because of terrain traps that forced us to back up and go another way.
We skied 12 miles instead of 7 because of terrain traps that forced us to
back up and go another way.
Grizzly Tracks.  We made ourselves known by talking at the bear for the last couple hours of our ski.
Grizzly tracks. We made ourselves known by talking at the bear for
the last couple hours of our ski.
The end finally in sight.  And, so were the bear tracks, which came up from the valley where Haley and Jeannie were.
The end finally in sight. And, so were the bear tracks, which came up from the valley where Haley and Jeannie were sleeping in the car.
Haley and Jeannie, support crew, waiting patiently for us. We had minimal contact with walkie talkies that we brought, so we were able to notify them of our overnight stay.
Haley and Jeannie, support crew, waiting patiently for us. We had minimal contact with walkie talkies that we brought, so we were able to notify them of our overnight stay.
Here is the grizzly track Haley took a photo of at the base of Hell Roaring Canyon, where we came out.
Here is the grizzly track Haley took a photo of
at the base of Hell Roaring Canyon, where we came out.
Job Well Done-Norm and Me
Oh my God, we did it! Good job!

Next came the bike ride, 90-some miles from the base of Hell Roaring Canyon to Clark Canyon Dam.  The ride took three days. The ride of all rides, the vistas were spectacular.