Posts Tagged With: kayaking

Fort Benton-First Visit: Rain Layover-May 30 to June 1

I arrived at Fort Benton the same day that I left Great Falls. The paddle only took a few hours from Carter Ferry. I knew rain was forecasted, so I planned on staying in Fort Benton for a least a couple of days, which I would have done anyway. This post is a photo story post. I hope you enjoy it.

Carter Ferry is one of only six cable ferries in existence. Another cable ferry is in Virgelle, between Fort Benton and Coal Banks Landing. There are also two others in the area, making four out of the six ferries that are functioning located here in northern Montana.

Carter Ferry

Carter Ferry

I opted to try and set up camp at the boat ramp, rather than a mile downstream at the canoe camp. I was leary about it, but a cop was sitting there so I asked him and he said it would be fine. He said he and the night shift officer would keep an eye on me. Sweet!

I opted to try and set up camp at the boat ramp in Fort Benton, rather than a mile upstream at the canoe camp. I was leary about it, but a police officer was sitting there in the parking lot, so I asked him and he said it would be fine. He said he and the night shift officer would keep an eye on me. Sweet!

This is it, but the inside is cozy and dry. Well, except at 1:50 AM when the darn automatic sprinkler came on for 40 or so minutes. Geez. The last night there I took off the tarp because the storm had passed, but I forgot about the sprinkler. My tent fly got soaked after staying dry through the whole storm. Kinda funny.

This is it, but the inside is cozy and dry. Well, except at 1:50 AM when the darn automatic sprinkler comes on for 40 or so minutes every night. Geez. The last night there I took off the tarp because the storm had passed, but I forgot about the sprinkler. My tent fly got soaked after staying dry through the whole storm. Kinda funny.

Fort Benton's riverside walk is lined with historic information signs for a long ways. It is fun learning about the town's history while walking along the river, which is, of course, where most of the town's historic events took place. That is a walking bridge in the background and has benches and picnic tables on it.

Fort Benton’s riverside walk is lined with historic information signs for a long ways. It is fun learning about the town’s history while walking along the river, which is, of course, where most of the town’s historic events took place. That is a walking bridge in the background and has benches and picnic tables on it.

Here is a view of the riverfront levee from the walking bridge.

Here is a view of the riverfront levee from the walking bridge.

This sweet cafe was right across the street. The waitress was so nice, she let me stay there all day until closing at around 2:00. It was a nice rainy day hang.

This sweet cafe was right across the street. The waitress was so nice, she let me stay there all day until closing at around 2:00. I didn’t stay there all day every day. Just the first day. The other days I left before closing, and I went to the library, too. It was a nice rainy day hang.

The coffee was delicious and so were the breakfasts and lunches. I had an omelette two mornings in a row.

The coffee was delicious and so were the breakfasts and lunches. I had an omelette two mornings in a row.

This is Nikki, my very sweet waitress at the Wake Cup. I wanted a photo of her, for that reason. Unfortunately, it wasn't until I was leaving that I learned she was the ranger in the Breaks National Monument for three years previous. It would have been nice to chat, but she was usually very busy. Very nice, though, and currently the volunteer coordinator for Friends of the Missouri River Breaks.

This is Nikki, my very sweet waitress at the Wake Cup. I wanted a photo of her, for that reason. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until I was leaving that I learned she was the ranger in the Breaks National Monument for three years previous. It would have been nice to chat, but she was usually very busy. Very nice, though, and currently the volunteer coordinator for Friends of the Missouri River Breaks.

River Break was the coolest little bookstore with all kinds of interesting books and used gear, rocks and stuff.

River Break was the coolest little bookstore with all kinds of interesting books and used gear, rocks and stuff.

Tom is the owner of River Breaks. He gave me a great deal on three books. What an interesting and knowledgeable guy. This is a must stop in Fort Benton. Please note, he does no have a hostel up and running, or showers, laundry and shuttle. These are part of his dream.

Tom is the owner of River Breaks. He gave me a great deal on three books. What an interesting and knowledgeable guy. This is a must stop in Fort Benton. Please note, he does no have a hostel up and running, or showers, laundry and shuttle. These are part of his dream. Go for it, Tom!

Side of the Upper Missouri River Museum building, located right next to my camp. Fort Benton was also next door.

Side of the Upper Missouri River Museum building, located right next to my camp. Fort Benton was also next door.

Outside of the Fort

Outside of the Fort

IMG_1440

IMG_1448

The levee today with a view of the old bridge, which is now just for walking and sitting and contemplating.

The levee today with a view of the old bridge, which is now just for walking and sitting and contemplating.

The walking bridge

The walking bridge

IMG_1446

IMG_1447

The "block" today

The “block” today

IMG_1449

Today

Today

This map shows my route coming up, all the way through the Missouri River Breaks National Monument. (Coal Banks to James Kipp Recreation Area,)

This map shows my route coming up, all the way through the Missouri River Breaks National Monument. (Coal Banks to James Kipp Recreation Area)

It rained and rained and rained. The rain stops eventually, and now it was time to move on down the river. Fort Benton is a town that will warm your heart, and get you interested in the Missouri River and its connection to our country's history and culture.

It rained and rained and rained. The rain stops eventually, and now it was time to move on down the river. Fort Benton is a town that will warm your heart, and get you interested in the Missouri River and its connection to our country’s history and culture.

It began raining again on June 2, the afternoon of the day I arrived at Coal Banks Landing. I have some interesting photos of the paddle down to Coal Banks, the paddlers laying over at Coal Banks, the proprietors of the Virgelle Mercantile Store, and my second visit to Fort Benton when I came with Dominique Liboiron, who came to visit me from Saskatchewan during this next rain delay before starting into the Breaks. Dominique paddled from Saskatchewan, Canada, to New Orleans last summer and winter, arriving just before Mardi Gras. We instantly became friends when he stopped over at Cooper’s Landing, my river hangout in Columbia, Missouri. My next post will share with you our visit together and some additional interesting things we discovered in Fort Benton.

Do what you love, and love what you do!

Live slow ~ Paddle fast (notice that is switching around a little. No, a lot.) 🙂

Advertisements
Categories: Education, Missouri River | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Paddling into Great Falls! Monday, May 27.

Thank You, John and Keely Schukei, for taking such good care of me the couple days I stayed in Great Falls. Your hospitality was heart warming. My stay with you, unforgettable. (I am loving my gloves and my pink crocs!)

I absolutely LOVE this photo of John, Keely and Hazel, the dog. I kinda like all of them alot!

I absolutely LOVE this photo of John, Keely and Hazel, the dog. I kinda like all of them alot!

When John, Sherri, and Bob came to paddle with me, John had offered me a place to stay and a ride around the dams. I phoned him shortly before I arrived and told him I would love to take him up on his offer. He said, “Great, I’ll be right there to pick you up.” Then, when I told him I could not get a clear visual in my mind about the Great Falls and what they look like, he drove straight over to the first two falls to take a look. This was a tremendous help. Plus, we saw some other really cool things, too, like Giant Spring and Great Horned Owl babies.

This is Black Eagle Falls, the uppermost falls of the five dams comprising the "Great Falls." The city of Great Falls is in the background.

This is Black Eagle Falls, the uppermost falls of the five dams comprising the “Great Falls.” The city of Great Falls is in the background.

This is the second from the top falls, Rainbow Falls. All of the water is diverted through the power house so no water runs through it except on weekends, when they let extra water out.

This is the second from the top falls, Rainbow Falls. All of the water is diverted through the power house so no water runs through it except on weekends, when they let extra water out.

Here is a view looking down stream from Rainbow Falls.

Here is a view looking down stream from Rainbow Falls.

This is Giant Spring located within Giant Spring State Park between Black Eagle and Rainbow Falls. It is the source of the shortest river in the country, the Rogue River. It empties into the Missouri River after about 100 yards or so.

This is Giant Spring located within Giant Spring State Park between Black Eagle and Rainbow Falls. It is the source of the shortest river in the country, the Rogue River. It empties into the Missouri River after about 100 yards or so.

Here is one of two places the spring empties into the Missouri River

Here is one of two places the spring empties into the Missouri River

 

Watercress growing in the spring. Look how clear that water is!

Watercress growing in the spring. Look how clear that water is!

 

This is a nest with three Great Horned Owl babies. If you don't know they are there, you probably won't see them. John knew where they were and we were fortunate to get a good clear sighting, let alone an awesome photos!

This is a nest with three Great Horned Owl babies. If you don’t know they are there, you probably won’t see them. John knew where they were and we were fortunate to get a good clear sighting, let alone an awesome photos!

This is John and Keely's back screened in porch which has a double bed. This was my bivy in Great Falls. Sweet, eh?

This is John and Keely’s back screened in porch which has a double bed. This was my bivy in Great Falls. Sweet, eh?

We enjoyed a fun evening eating pizza (YUM!) and Bob came over and joined us. He, along with John, gave me a lot of tips on paddling, particularly how to power stroke. “Why do you hold your paddle with you hands so close together? You look like you are dog paddling.” I don’t know. I’m just holding it. Well, they showed me how to hold my elbows at 90 degrees before grabbing the paddle, and then how to use your whole body to stroke strong and efficiently. WOW! (This was incredibly useful for me on Fort Peck Lake, a couple weeks later.) Bob also showed me some stretches. I told them my back was having a bit of difficulty, and he explained that it was more likely my hamstrings from sitting in the kayak. His doctor told him the same thing.

Here is a picture of Bob (right), and John and Sherri from when they came up and paddled with me a couple days previous.

Here is a picture of Bob (right), and John and Sherri from when they came up and paddled with me a couple days previous. They are part of a kayaking group that organizes fun kayaking events and races.

I was able to hang out at the house and update my blog while Keely and John went about their business. That was really nice, since blog posts take lots of time. I couldn’t help but notice, and love, this backyard spa (chuckle).

I love this. John and Keely's hot tub in the back yard. How cool is that?

I love this. John and Keely’s hot tub in the back yard. How cool is that?

During the afternoon, John took me to get some “must have” synthetic golfing gloves for paddling. We went to Meadow Lark Country Club where Michael very graciously gave me a pro deal on the gloves. They are great, both the Country Club and the gloves! John had so much great advice for me.  Then we went to his store, Bighorn Outdoor Specialists, that he owned for 38 years. The staff there were friendly and willing to offer a pro deal for the supplies I needed. If you are EVER in Great Falls, be sure to stop at this awesome sports store.

The staff at Bighorn Outdoor Specialists. They gave me a sweet pro deal on supplies I needed, like a water filter, Cliff Bars, stove fuel and new sunglasses. Thanks, guys!

The staff at Bighorn Outdoor Specialists. They gave me a sweet pro deal on supplies I needed, like a water filter, Cliff Bars, stove fuel and new sunglasses. Thanks, guys!

I headed to the put in the next day. It was quite a drive, and John was so nice to take care of me. Unfortunately, the road became so muddy we had to turn back and go all the way around town to Carter Ferry. This is often the case, but we thought we could make it. The area had seen a lot of rain recently.

The mud on the road to Widow Coulee prevented us from getting to this put in. We had to drive about 45 minutes back to Great Falls, and down the other side of the river to Carter Ferry. John was such an incredible host. I'm forevever grateful for all he did for me. He and Keely, both.

The mud on the road to Widow Coulee prevented us from getting to this put in. We had to drive about 45 minutes back to Great Falls, and down the other side of the river to Carter Ferry. This wasn’t even the steep part as you drive into the river canyon. We would have never made it.

Before we got to far, though, John stopped and let me photograph these historical information signs telling about the Corps of Discovery’s portage around the Great Falls.

You can find a series of educational signs way out in the middle of nowhere, but right in the vicinity that the Corps of Discovery staged their portage. No easy feat it was.

You can find a series of educational signs way out in the middle of nowhere, but right in the vicinity that the Corps of Discovery staged their portage. No easy feat it was.

Another historical information sign regarding the Corps of Discovery portage around the falls.

Another historical information sign regarding the Corps of Discovery portage around the falls.

Looking out over the area where the Corps of Discovery conducted their portage. That is the river valley.

Looking out over the area where the Corps of Discovery conducted their portage. That is the river valley.

And finally, John has such great ideas. He thought this would make a great photo opportunity. He was right. Enjoy:

John thought this would make a classic photo. I think he was right. Pretty funny.

John thought this would make a classic photo. I think he was right. Pretty funny. Problem here is, I’m going the other way!

Categories: Expedition, Missouri River | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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.”

p

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 ;).

p

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

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).

image

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

Efficiency is key

Getting a little nervous now, and must work efficiently.  Countdown 12 days, YIKES!  I am scheduled to substitute teach the next three days.  Then, off to St. Charles for the Missouri River Relief clean-up (arrive Fri-leave Sun), plus a crew meeting tonight at 6:30.  Next week I will be putting all the puzzle pieces together, practicing packing the boat, and hoping that I get called for a teaching interview which will, ideally, land me a job for the next school year.

On Saturday night, April 13, my daughter, Haley, and my niece and her family, Rene, Kyle, and Sam, and I will be attending the Dance Showcase at the Columbia Performing Arts Center.  My cousin, Jen Lee, teaches dancing there (she taught there when Haley was in Junior High) and puts together the grand finale of all the dance classes, the Showcase.  Also, several of my students will be performing that night, Lauren, Kaylin and Rachel.  They will be happy to see me there.  They are such great dancers!

Sunday send-off will be the next day at Cooper’s Landing, April 14, 10:00AM.  Wow!  Ya, I’m a little nervous.  Here is a list I composed between midnight and 2:00 AM last night.  I keep paper and pen bedside.  Every time I think of a little to-do item, I have to write it down, there are so many. These are just a few of the things that came to mind last night.  Oh, and add American flag for the boat onto that list.

Midnight To Do List-April 2, 2013

Midnight To Do List-April 2, 2013

I conducted a loosely traditional christening ceremony before dropping Blue Moon in the water for her first voyage with her new name.  This was last Sunday, March 31, and a fun time despite the fact I forgot my really cool christening script I found online. Technology prevailed and I was able to  access the first paragraph, which I had posted earlier in the week.  The rest was improvisation, and seemed perfectly acceptable to all present.

The, the flotilla had a most wonderful paddle under blue skies and mild temperatures.  My Eddyline Shasta truly is a dream boat.  Blue Moon, Sweet Dream.  We bonded.  Ya, we got this!

maidenvoyage_3-31-2013

Blue Moon (next I have to apply the blog address, maybe today) handled tenderly by Joe Kellenberger and Michael Stacy.

Megan May setting up cameras for her Missourian video story.  She has been following me around getting footage.

Megan May setting up cameras for her Missourian video story.
She has been following me around getting footage.

Reading the script off my iPhone.

Reading the script off my iPhone.

First time in the water as "Blue Moon."

First time in the water as “Blue Moon.”

The christening cruise crew

The christening cruise crew, L-R: Amanda Faith and Theo, Alison Kellenberger, daughter Hannah, Janet Moreland, Joe Kellenberger and Talia, Michael Stacy, Jonathan Lauten

Talia

Tally, riding shotgun? With Joe.

Theo

Theo, first time on the river, with Amanda.

The Joseph M. LaBarge, Roger and Barbara Giles' vessel.

We met up with The Joseph M. LaBarge, Roger and Barbara Giles’ vessel, at Eagle Bluffs.

waving

Ahoy!

Wednesday evening, March 27, we had a wonderful heart-warming turn out for the Love Your Big Muddy Blues Benefit.  Many of the finest musicians in Columbia played Red Hot Blues that night.  Heidi Branaugh organized the event, with help from our committee, and things worked out beautifully.  $1600 was raised to help with my expenses, and for that I am enormously grateful.  Certainly, the evening was incredibly special and a memorable one for all.  Much love in our community shined forth that night.  And Shane Perrin, The Stand Up Guy, came to the event!  What a wonderful supporter and inspiration.  He planted a few seeds in my mind while visiting together!  😉

Talking about paddling rivers.  Fun stuff!

Talking with Shane Perrin about paddling rivers. Likin’ it!!

My daughter, Haley, will be part of my support for the first week or two.

My daughter, Haley, will be part of my support for the first week or two.

Johnny D'Agostino and Alan Loshbaugh

Johnny D’Agostino and Alan Loshbaugh, so great!

Band-Sax and Harp

L-R, Scott McCullough, Charley Waddill on drums,
Tony Lotven with sax in hand and Alan Loshbaugh

Charlie Brown Boogie Down Dance Contest

Charlie Brown Boogie Down Dance Contest

L-R, Dennis Ternamian, Charley Waddill and Jim Quisenberry

L-R, Dennis Ternamian, Charley Waddill and Jim Quisenberry

Dave and Band

L-R, Zed Zardov, Scott McCullough, Dave Bandy, Charley Waddill

bandwithDave

And our most gracious and talented host, Heidi, announcing the raffle winners.

And our most gracious and talented host, Heidi, announcing the raffle winners.

Raffle items

Lovely raffle items donated by beautiful people.

Food

Complimentary appetizers

Media interest has picked up, which I suppose is to be expected.  Ciera and Megan, journalism students at the University of Missouri, are working for the Columbia Missourian to get a story out soon.  Ciera is working on a written article and Megan is working on a corresponding video story.

Ciera started her story awhile back. Should publish soon.

Ciera started her story awhile back. Should publish soon.

Megan May getting shots for her video story.  Here, we applied the new name to the boat in the house since the temps outside were too cold.

Megan May getting shots for her video story. Here, we applied the new name to the boat in the house since the temps outside were too cold.

Loved talking with Elizabeth Labauch, who wrote a blog post about the expedition for Footprint Magazine.  Footprint Magazine is produced by Sustain Mizzou, an environmental student group at the University of Missouri.  Tina Casagrand does a great job of keeping the magazine vibrant.  Liz did a great piece from a somewhat different perspective.  You can read her article posted to the Media Coverage Page on this blog.

I met with Simon Rose and Rene on the KFRU Morning Meeting yesterday.  Be sure and check out the on-air interview, also posted on the Media Coverage Page at the top of my blog.

KFRUMorningMeetingImage

Right now I am waiting for Philip White to call.  He wants to interview me for The SUP magazine online.  Cool.  He also writes for Canoe and Kayak.  Doubly cool.

Just got off the phone with Philip.  Great friendly conversation.  I’ll keep you posted.

And finally, Leslie Kolovich and I did a podcast for her SUP radio show, Paddle for the Planet.  Most enjoyable conversation with her, on and off air.  Leslie is passionate for paddling AND the planet.  Check out our podcast interview in the Media Coverage drop down list.  And, check out her SUP Radio Show where she interviews, and supports, the paddling communities everywhere!

leslie_outstanding_hat

Leslie Astin Kolovich

Well, folks, got another blog post out here, didn’t I?  That wasn’t even on my ToDo list.  I will strive to keep you faithful followers updated during my trip.  I anticipate I will be very busy taking photos, videos, charging up the laptop, writing in my journal, paddling onward, and keeping my hands clean.  They don’t call it the Big Muddy for nothing, you know!

Feel free to suggest, inspire, encourage, and entertain by leaving a comment any time.  Always appreciated!  Cheers!

Life is a journey.  Live fast ~ Paddle slow

See You On The River…

Categories: Planning, Support | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Christening the Boat, Gearing up and Cleaning the River

“For thousands of years, we have gone to sea. We have crafted vessels to carry us and we have called them by name. These ships will nurture and care for us through perilous seas, and so we affectionately call them “she.” To them we toast, and ask to celebrate “BLUE MOON.” Then everybody raises their glass filled with champagne or your favorite non-alcoholic beverage and shouts, “TO THE SAILORS OF OLD…TO BLUE MOON.” Everybody takes a sip.

IMG_2094

That is the start of the script for the christening ceremony.  Tomorrow, a.k.a., Easter Sunday, Blue Moon will take her first ride in the Missouri River as the Blue Moon.  For those of you who are not aware, Bob Bellingham of Australia paddled down the Missouri River last summer in the same boat, which was then the Barbara May.  In the spirit of  “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” I have purchased Bob’s boat for my expedition, and she is no stranger to the river.

Bob Bellingham in his Shasta, which is now my Shasta, and my ride down the river.

Bob Bellingham in his Shasta, which is now my Shasta,
and my ride down the river.

The Barbara May brought Bob down the river, from Three Forks to St. Louis, in 89 days.  Ideally, Blue Moon will replicate that schedule so that I arrive in St. Louis on August 1st (give or take a couple of days).  Tomorrow, I will conduct a short ceremony in order to loosely hold on to the tradition of renaming and/or christening a boat.  Those paddling with me, and anyone else interested, are invited to take part.

Today, I hope to apply this blog site address onto the sides of Blue Moon.

IMG_2095

Things are really revving up, gear-wise.  Packages are showing up on my porch, such as the lettering for my web address, my solar panel, compression dry sacks, my sleeping bag, a camera, cleaner for the boat deck, etc.

I spent 3 hours in Batteries + yesterday trying to assemble an appropriate electronic system to charge my laptop from the roll-up solar panel.  Solar panels do not advertise laptop charging.  Normally, they are geared for only the smaller electronic appliances, i.e., iPhone, iPad, camera, or GPS.  After yesterday,  I’m ready to teach a Physics lesson for sure.

I had to get a 12V battery, which I learned, come in a wide variety of sizes and corresponding weights.  I need a battery that will not be too big, but that will charge my laptop up in a reasonable amount of time and/or charging sessions.  I won’t go into any details because my brain is still tired from yesterday’s numerous calculations.  Big thanks to Herb for patiently assisting me in assembling a system!  And thanks to Chad, Batteries+ store owner, who gave me a business account, which results in a small discount on all of the accessories I bought…

IMG_2083

for my roll-up solar charger.  Big thanks to Julia at PowerFilmSolar for the discount, too.

R14Accessories

One of the employees at Batteries+ suggested a wind turbine for the boat.  Holy cow, that’s brilliant!  I’m sure I’ll be thinking a lot about that on those windy days on the lakes!

I have been dehydrating lots of food and vacuum sealing small packages.  Why have I not been doing this for the last 30 years?  The beef jerky is out of this world!  And, the bananas, green apples, pineapple, etc. are all soooo delicious! I’ve also dried tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, peppers, and spaghetti sauce.  Yep, spaghetti sauce.  Starting on broccoli today.  These veggies will be wonderful to throw into my side dish pasta meals.

Dried-Tomatoes-mushrooms

Naturally dried tomatoes and mushrooms

I now have my tent, sleeping bag, stove, Thermarest, paddling gear, under layers, neoprene boots and shoes, Teva sandals, portable hard drive, three cameras, an iPhone, a laptop (which I’ve owned for a long time and hope it performs), maps, drybags, compression dry bags, compass, whistle, wheeleez for portaging, and a lot of little items that I had to pick up as I walked through Walt’s Wilderness store.  Little things like a first-aid kit, meal kit, coffee french-press with cup set, moleskin, caribiners, and a wide-mouth water bottle for my alfalfa sprouts.  I even picked up my one and only packaged freeze-dried meal:  camp eggs!  I love eggs and will need to cook up this package for some special occasion, which could be anything, like one full day with zero wind!!  I may be missing my eggs on this trip.

IMG_2098

I will test my gear this week-end when I go to Missouri River Relief’s MO River clean-up in St. Charles.  Seven years have passed since I started back to school and have not had an opportunity to go to a river clean-up since.  These clean-up events are a must-do activity for everyone, ESPECIALLY, river communities.  The sense of accomplishment, camaraderie, and contribution to society cannot be fully appreciated until you take part in one.  I am so looking forward to being with fellow river stewards, cleaning up the trash, and trying out the gear that I will become one with for the next 3 and 1/2 months.  I definitely have to make sure that French Press works.  Gotta have my cup of Joe to get my day on track!

Confluence Clean-Up in 2012.  Jeannie Kuntz massages the crew (She'll be driving to Montana with me and my daughter Haley. :))

Confluence Clean-Up in 2012. Jeannie Kuntz massages the crew after a long day. (Jeannie will be driving to Montana with my daughter Haley and me. :))

St. Charles Clean-up in 2011

River Warriors
St. Charles Clean-up in 2011

poster

Stay tuned for an upcoming post in which I will share with you the red-hot heart-warming LoveYourBigMuddy Blues Benefit from last Wednesday, March 27.

Live fast ~ Paddle slow

See you on the river!

Categories: Expedition, Planning | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

1woman 3great rivers

Missouri River 2013 - Mississippi River 2016 - Yukon River 2017

%d bloggers like this: