April 21 through April 27
Awoke Sunday to a perfectly calm lake…it was like glass, there were Loons, Pelicans, Ducks and Geese all swimming nearby. The sun even shone, for awhile…by the time (around 11:30am) the guys made it around the Dam and back on the river, the weather had returned to “squall after squall”. Typical Montana springtime weather. They were headed for Meriweather Campground in the Gates of the Mountains Recreation Area….hopefully all went well. Oh yea….their mascot, Elliott, actually got to go along on the trip….he rode on the back of Roland’s kayak for the mile of lake they had to paddle before reaching the dam and he didn’t fall off! It would of been a COLD swim had he….Check out his page….we’ll update it with pictures in the near future.
Sunday, April 21, 1996
Met up with the guys at Hauser Lake on Saturday. The wind was blowing and it was pretty cold out. They are getting tired of the wind, it hasn’t been helping them. Maybe this week it will and maybe the sun will stay out a little more. Let’s hope.
Thursday, April 25, 1996
I’m back……The guys have made their way to Craig, Montana which is only a short way to friend’s house at Hardy, Montana. They will be arriving there tomorrow and we have a BBQ plan for the evening. So anyone out there in Internet world who would like to drive to Hardy, Montana to meet up with the guys just e-mail me and I’ll pass on directions.
This week has again been very windy, but it’s been working with them instead of against them. They made it to Coulter Campground in the Gates of the Mountains, Sunday. This has become their favorite place so far. Quiet, peaceful and beautiful. They left a message for the Morivex Expedition on the registration board….hopefully it will still be there when you come down river. They portaged Holter Dam with no incident and John even had help from Montana Power. They said Montana Power’s attitude was a lot different then Jim at Canyon Ferry Dam. Very helpful. They appreciated it.
That’s about it…..I’ll let you know how the weekend goes.
Excerpts from John’s Journal
Sunday, April 21, 1996
We paddled the last mile to Hauser Dam with Elliot riding shotgun. The portage proved to be quick and easy and within no time we were floating with the current. The current, however, ended abruptly after about two miles and it was back to paddling into the wind. After a few hours, Upper Holter is navigated and we enter what the boat ferries like to call The Gates of the Mountains. We camped at Coulter Campground, which during the summer months is crawling with tourists, but on this day we had it all to ourselves. This campground is easily the most beautiful place either of us has ever stayed at, with its huge towering walls on both sides of the river and columns and bridges far above our heads. I fished while Roland went for a hike up a trail. On his return, he was covered from head to toe with ticks. We found them inside every layer of clothing, in his socks and in his head, otherwise this was a flawless camping site.
Portaging around Hauser Dam, with a little help from Elliott.
Monday, April 22, 1996
All day was spent paddling against the wind. Today we paddled further than on any other day, finally reaching Lower Holter Lake, camping at the first upriver campsite known as Black Beach. We spent the first couple hours here fishing alongside some shady individuals whose grooming habits rival that of the Unibomber. To bed early after a long day.
Tuesday, April 23, 1996
Up early to beat the wind and 3 hours later we reached the dam. Holter dam required us to haul the boats first along it’s top then down the west side. All in all an easy portage. We pitched camp and fished. On a side note, early this morning I finally caught the first fish of this expedition, a 2 pound Rainbow at Black Beach. The wind throughout the day has been the fiercest yet. After dinner we both retired early.
Wednesday, April 24, 1996
No paddling today! Current moved along today at a wonderful clip, within no time we reached the town of Craig. We have decided to take it slow due to the wind and the fact we don’t have to be to Hardy until Friday where a lot of people are going to be meeting up with us. The Craig Bar turned out to be heaven. Out of the wind and cold, plus the owner Joe served us home-cooked roast beef and veggies at no charge. Here’s to Joe…Clink! Say John, you forgot about Reva showing up at the bar that night, didn’t you? (rt)
Thursday, April 25, 1996
With the current howling as much as the wind, we made Mid-Canon campground early in the afternoon. We spent the day fishing and building a huge bonfire. Roland took the lead in the fishing by landing 1 brown and 1 Brooke. This campsite is set in a beautiful canyon (so why call it Mid-Canon?) which would be so spectacular if it weren’t for the highway cutting right through it’s middle. Roland erected his tent right by what we thought was abandoned railroad track, but in the middle of the night he was awakened by a huge six-engine mile long. Burlington Northern train that he says sounded like it went right through his tent.
Friday, April 26, 1996
The wind today once again tried to out do its past performances with gusts topping 70 miles per hour. If you have ever kayaked in a tornado then maybe you understand. We finally rounded the Mountain Palace rock formation and pulled up to Frank & Lois’s. Frank & Lois are the two most hospitable individuals we have ever met. Their daughter Denise is a kayaker, the story of how we met I will try to relay later as it is a long, but funny story. I camped in their yard (cause I’m a purest) Right, John the purest, who drinks at all the hot spots where Lewis and Clark drank.(rt) while Roland stayed in their basement. Many people came out to see us and share in the great food and company. It was this evening that it finally dawned on us as to how many people were following us on this trip.
Saturday, April 27, 1996
Today, we had planned to float the Dearborn river with as many people as would like to go, but the weather would once again prove to be our nemesis. With snow, hail, rain and wind only 3 others were willing to give it a go. That go proved to be a COLD go. The highlight of this miserable day was when the individual who had the take out vehicle informed us halfway down the river he had left his keys inside the put in vehicle. This made for an interesting shuttle. That evening we took Frank & Lois to dinner and finally were able to laugh at the days occurrences. Here’s to Frank and Lois! (rt)