Day 15 – The Adventure So Far
// July 1st, 2012 // Uncategorized
Today is Day 15 of the Missouri-Mississippi River System Expedition. I am currently taking up a temporary residence at the KOA campground in Dillon, Montana. I arrived here on Thursday, June 28, so today (Sunday) is the fourth day of this hiatus. It is looking like I will return to the river on Tuesday. Dillon is located approximately 40 miles south of the Clark Canyon Reservoir and Dam. I arrived at the reservoir on Wednesday, June 27, having descended 220km (135 miles) from Brower’s Spring, the source of the Missouri River. The first 7 miles were done on foot and the remainder in a 7.5’ inflatable raft. Along the way I descended Hell Roaring Creek, Red Rock Creek, and Red Rock River and paddled across Upper and Lower Red Rock Lakes, the 15-mile long Lima Reservoir and the 5-mile long Clark Canyon Reservoir. I paddled around extremely tight bends on the narrow creeks, battled stiff crosswinds on the Lima Reservoir that continually blew me ashore and created foot-high waves that swamped the boat. I capsized in swift moving water when I was swept under some low hanging willows, portaged around low bridges, diversion dams, fallen trees and crept cautiously under dozens of barbed wire fences. It was quite an adventure just getting this far! I have seen skunks, owls, hawks, eagles, antelope, deer, snakes, beavers, muskrats and a grey wolf. My moose count currently stands at 22. While passing through the Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, I saw a multitude of bird species including trumpeter swans, pelicans, blue herons, sandhill cranes, ducks, loons, grebes, geese and a myriad of shore birds. One of my favourite birds was the yellow-headed blackbird.
The next step is to exchange my 7.5’ inflatable raft for a 16’ sea kayak for the journey down the 82-mile long Beaverhead River, which starts on the downstream side of the Clark Canyon Dam, and the 85-mile long Jefferson River, which, along with the Madison and Gallatin Rivers, form the Missouri River near Three Forks, Montana. It will take about a week to paddle to Three Forks.
One logistical issue that remains is to get my pick-up truck back to the community of Monida, about 80 miles south of Dillon. The truck will be parked in Monida for the duration of the expedition. I will drive my truck to the Clark Canyon Dam, drop off the sea kayak and gear, then drive to Monida and hitchhike back to my camp at the dam. My inflatable boat will be shipped to Ontario where my sister Carrie will look after its sale. (Contact me if you’re interested in purchasing it. I purchased it new five weeks ago. No punctures. Gently used.)
I have plenty of people to thank for their help and interest in the expedition and will list them in a separate post.