Missouri River Quest '07 - Page 3
|Shawn and Kyle are visible
in the distance.
I woke up this morning just in time to see Shawn and Kyle paddle past my camp. Half an
hour later I had everything packed up and was on the river.
The river was lined with steep mountains for several miles before entering the biggest
rapids I have been through so far. I stayed upright, but was completely soaked after
crashing through the waves.
After the rapids, the river entered a wide flat plane. All I could see were the banks and the
occasional house. I passed Shawn and Kyle several times throughout the day, but every
time I would stop they would paddle by me.
I made quite a few miles today, but the day passed slowly with the slow current and lack of
scenery. I saw a storm approaching around 6:30 tonight and stopped to set up camp on
an island. Shawn and Kyle weren't far behind. We set up camp and drank beer as the
storm approached. There was a lot of wind and a little rain, but it didn't amount to much.
Even though the river wasn't that pretty today, I saw plenty of wildlife. There were bald
eagles, deer, and even a large snake. I love being out here.
A storm passed in the night with quite a bit of wind, but very little rain. My new MSR tent
held up well.
Shawn and Kyle took off while I was cooking breakfast, so I paddled into Great Falls alone.
The river was wide and slow with lots of twists and turns. The scenery wasn't the
greatest, but I saw lots of wildlife. The highlight of the morning was four otters splashing
in the shallows. Unfortunately, they swam to deeper water before I could get a picture.
As I neared Great Falls, the banks became lined with giant mansions. Each house was
big enough for four or five families. I guess I should have been impressed, but I wasn't.
God's great wilderness - that's enough for me.
I caught up to Shawn and Kyle at the Great Falls portage. The Missouri drops twice as far
as Niagara Falls in this fifteen mile stretch of river. It took Lewis and Clark a month and a
half to get around it, and now there are a series of hydroelectric dams along the way.
Luckily, the Medicine River Canoe Club offers a free portage service.
I called the number on the sign and Gilbert Payne was there in fifteen minutes with his
minivan and trailer. He gave us a tour of the town before dropping Shawn and Kyle at the
KOA campgrounds where they are waiting for some important mail. I'll miss their help at
the portages. Then it was on to the river where I thanked Gilbert and put in alone.
The river after Great Falls is quick with many rapids. There is plenty of great scenery with
cliffs lining most of the river.
I set up camp on a nice island where the morning sun will hit me. As I was getting things
out of the boat, I found the mosquitoes hatched today. They were terrible, and I'm sure
they will only get worse. That's the price you pay for being free.
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The island I chose for a campsite last night also turned out to be home to a flock of noisy
geese. I didn't get much sleep and today I thought about making a meal of every goose I
I stopped in Ft. Benton for breakfast, and then walked to the post office. It was closed, so I
guess the website will have to wait a few days. I called a few friends back home and took
off down the river.
I entered the Wild and Scenic River after Ft. Benton. I'm not sure it's any more scenic than
the rest of the river, but it certainly is wild. I only passed three houses in the sixty miles of
water I covered today.
The wind picked up this afternoon, and as always, it was blowing up river. I hit some pretty
big waves on the long straight stretches and I found that the waves crash over the bow and
hit all the crap I have strapped to the deck. This shoots the water up and into my face. I'll
rearrange some stuff in the morning to try to fix that.
I set up camp an hour earlier than usual to avoid a dark cloud that was rolling across the
sky. It rained for a few minutes, than passed, but the thunder in the distance tells me
there's more to come.
The forecast calls for wind, rain, and cold for the next few days. I am over 150 miles from
the next town. It will take me at least three days to get there, and probably more with the
foul weather. I didn't remember to tell anyone that when I was making calls in Ft. Benton,
and now I'm worried.
I enjoy talking to my friends back home, but the main reason I call is to let them know I'm
safe. Now everyone will worry about me for the next few days. All I can do now is pray for
good weather and paddle hard as long as it's safe. At least the mosquitoes aren't bad