Sunday June 15th and Monday June 16th

“Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.”-A.A. Milne

Hello Good People,

Checking in from the quaint, historic, town of Fort Benton, Montana.  Fort Benton is dripping with charm and character.  What I find most appealing about Ft. Benton is everyone here seems to have an appreciation of the history of their town.  The link between the towns past and present is palpable.  This is a departure from my hometown of Dallas, we raze everything and build new stuff. Hey, but you can’t beat the Tex-Mex right?  (yes, I would kill for an E Bar meal about right now)

Anyway, back to the past week.  It was a trying week without question. One word describes the week. Wet.

I left Craig Montana on Sunday morning and was hoping to make some big miles so I could get within striking distance of Great Falls, hoping to arrive on Monday afternoon.  Didn’t happen.  I did paddle a long distance with the aid of the welcome Missouri current. The stretch downstream (which is actually north) of Craig is quintessential MO river paddling. It is exactly what you envision when thinking of Montana canoeing, drift boats, fly fishermen (and women), mountains, clear water, beauty.  Pound for pound, this was probably my most enjoyable day of paddling.  I wasn’t stressed about water conditions, the weather was relatively favorable during the afternoon and I went through some spectacular canyons with rock cliffs rising all around me.


As Sunday progressed, I exited the mountainous portion of the river and entered into more prairie like terrain.  Potential camping sites were scarce, I started to get a little nervous as the evening wore on, I was in cow country and the river now had steep banks.  Finally, after scouting out multiple locations, I settled on a rocky stretch.  Hopefully, I won’t be surrounded by a herd of angry cattle.  As I setup camp, you can guess, a storm approached.  As I finished my instant potatoes it started to rain.  When storms blow in here, the wind whips up and howls, it really is jarring.  I was now by myself, so I didn’t have Mike to cry too in case conditions deteriorated.  Naturally, they did.  I survived the night without any cattle or bear incidents.  Whew.



Monday started with partly Sunny skies, I was on a mission to get to Great Falls.  I packed everything up, (canoeing is a process of packing, unpacking, carrying, repeat the process ) and headed down river.  I was digging in today, I really wanted to get to Great Falls.  This meant, a soft bed, another real meal and a day or two of R&R.  I had not had a day off the river since I started on June 3rd.  I was pretty much bushwhacked.

As the day progressed, I started to come to the harsh reality that I would not make it to Great Falls.  This was reinforced when a major system blew by around 3:30.  I pulled off the river, and it poured, and didn’t relent for two hours. I was soaked, cold, and questioned the decision to leave the comforts of the success station.  Fortuneatly, this was a fleeting thought.  Time to soldier on….after two hours the rain turned from a downpour to a steady rain. I paddled on, for the next 2 hours I paddled in a steady rain as I was now about 15 miles from Great Falls.


If I thought camping sites were scarce last night, the situation this evening was bleak.  I scouted at least 4 sites and each one was worse than the previous.  This sinking feeling started to materialize that I would be sleeping in a muddy marsh tonight in a rain storm. This did not sit well with me and then, the canoe gods smiled on me and like a beacon in the night I found a fishing access site with a beautiful patch of grass. I did a Gronk spike and celebrated like it was 1999.


The canoe gods giveth and the canoe gods taketh away.  It absolutely poured all night, it did not stop. I prayed my tent would hold up, fortunately it did and I only I had a little ground condensation.

Tomorrow, Great Falls no matter what!!



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2 Responses to Sunday June 15th and Monday June 16th

  1. Sean W. says:

    The scenery looks amazing.

    Stay thirsty my friend…

  2. Amy Lynch says:

    Great hearing about your stories and seeing the pics. Keep the beard going!!

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