Thursday, September 1, 2011

Late August outings

Posted By on Thu, Sep 1, 2011 at 10:37 AM

With the heat as high as it has been, I have been mostly inspired to hit the river and cool down. I started easily with a Blackfoot float a couple weekends ago and I had never seen the river in such a party. There were hundreds of tubers, floaters and revelers and someone from FWP counting us all at the Whittaker Bridge. I had a bunch of teens along and they swapped into the two kayaks while I rowed and others tubed.

I took my daughter up to the West Fork with another friend for an eight mile stretch a few days later and then more than a week ago, we embarked on the Gorge for her first timer's run in the kayak. She nailed all the lines, never flipped, and came into the eddies grinning her big smile. She loves the water.

On the way home from Missoula, I took a turn in Brennan's Wave and it was running at a nice flow for the middle channel. I wore myself out spinning and flipping in the coolness that the mountain water always brings.

Soccer took over some and I found some time for a few rock climbing half days at Kootenai Canyon and then Lost Horse. I enjoyed getting back into lead climbing and worked a few harder routes on top rope, at outer most limits, and town pump in Kootenai Canyon and Crazy Horse at Lost Horse which I was almost able to pull the upper crux finger crack moves.....next time. We had some of the teens along on a couple of the climbing days as we tried to hone them for entry into the UM. They went back to school the other day.

Leading High Wire

Upper High Wire 5.7
  • Upper High Wire 5.7

Jenny and I headed up to Lost Trail Pass for a great short loop mountain bike ride along the Montana Idaho borderlands. We headed out and down the Shields Creek Trail to Overwich Creek where we took the moderate grade up and back out to Saddle Mountain. With a smooth trail we made good time other than the half dozen blow downs and a few uphills to the descent into Overwich which with its 15 switchbacks proved totally rideable and down a lovely wildflower slope into the canyon. The ride up and out was a perfect stock trail which required just a couple hike moves.
Biking Colter Creek

Rapids on the Selway

To top off last week I headed out to the Selway River and made a five day run down the wild and scenic river on a self support kayak trip with six of us paddling. This was the climax as most multi night trips feel with camping out under the cedars and stars and roasting fish on cedar bark planks. The water level was sustainable with only some moderate hand walking. With no raft to slow us down we made good time on the river each day and spent a lot of time enjoying ourselves as we headed downstream. Swimming with goggles, deepwater bouldering, cliff jumping, and fishing topped the list of riverside activities. The heat made it easy to spend time wet and we fused some of the movements into swimming to bouldering and cliff jumping and swimming back downstream to camp. With the rapids all in good shape for running blind we ran the whole river without a scout as we weaved our way through Washer Woman, Goat Creek, Green Eggs and Ham, Double Drop, Ladle, Wapoots, Wolf Creek, and Teakum Falls. We had only one roll on the whole trip, at Teakum.

The last day after our layover at Marten Creek, we ran into a few dead spawned out Salmon and a forest fire burning down almost to the shore. It produced some thick smoke right on the water for a few yards and made for quite the wild look. There was plenty of Berry scats out there but all dried out and left for us to wonder at before jumping for cover from the rattlers which are thick along that river trails. We saw three in the one day of hiking we did. Best to paddle the water! We launched at .8 ft and the river must have come down while we were on it. Selway Falls looked runnable....but for a day with good safety set up.

The quiet spots along the Selway

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