Missouri River Quest '07 - Page 1
|I'm a member of the
Skunk River Paddlers.
We woke up early this morning hoping to get a good start on the river. The temperature
outside had dipped to 31 degrees, but the sun was out and I was looking forward to
Alan and Gina wanted to treat me to breakfast before I left and that was an offer I couldn't
refuse. It took a fair amount of driving, but we found a Perkins restaurant. Alan and Gina
ordered a Southwest breakfast to split and I ordered one for myself.
Each plate had enough food on it for three people, and we had two of them. No wonder
Americans are so fat. We ate what we could and headed for Three Forks.
At this point (indicated by the
2 on the above map) I am
crossing the second of the
two entrance points of the
Gallatin River. I started my
2007 Missouri Trek at about
11 AM on Monday, May 14.
Missouri Headwaters State
Park is located just outside
Three Forks, Montana.
Short delay on the way to
Three Forks, Montana
Jefferson's 1803 instructions
given to Meriwether Lewis
I'm packing my gear.
Official photo of the start of my 2007 Missouri Trek.
I started in a calm spot near
the mouth of the the Madison
River and paddled into the
nearby channel of the
Jefferson River. This mixing of
water from two rivers is then
called the Missouri River. The
1 on the map below indicates
my put-in spot.
As soon as we pulled onto the interstate, the belts on the Volvo started squealing. We
made it to the town of Three Forks and bought a new set of belts and some tools. Forty
five minutes later we had the belts changed, and the loose bolts that caused the problem
I loaded my gear into the boat, said Thank you and good bye to Alan and Gina, and was
on the water by 11:00.
The river is beautiful. Giant bluffs and cliffs rise from its shore, and I can see snow
covered mountains in the distance. It is like a miniature version of the Grand Canyon.
The water is swift with many rapids. Some of them were big enough to make me
nervous, but I'm happy to report I didn't tip over or put any new scratches in the boat.
I reached the Tolston Dam, my first portage, around 2:00. I was checking out the portage
route, which was well over a quarter mile, when a white Chevy Cavalier pulled in. I
decided to ask the guy driving if he would haul my gear in his trunk. Not only did he agree
to haul my gear, but he also folded down the back seat and let me stick the kayak in there,
too. It stuck out about 12 feet, but we drove slowly and I didn't have to carry it. Thank you,
After the dam, I entered a broad flat valley. It was windy, but I made it fifty miles to the head
of Canyon Ferry Lake today. It will be the first large lake I will have to cross, although there
will be many more. I hope someone helps me around the dam.
Tonight I am in the tent and I am scared and lonely. Anyone in my position who didn't feel
that way would have to have something wrong with them. I have 2250 miles of river left to
travel alone, much of it through wilderness. I have to be strong, brave, and cautious. I'll
make it to St. Louis. I had a good day today and I'm in some of the most beautiful country
on earth. I'm proud of that.