Twin Bridges to 200 feet shy of Missouri Headwaters

“To me there are three things everyone should do every day. Number one is laugh. Number two is think — spend some time time in thought. Number three, you should have your emotions move you to tears. If you laugh, think and cry, that’s a heck of a day.”-Jim Valvano

It was a very emotional start to the trip, we arrived at Twin Bridges around 12:00 on Tuesday.  The preceding 5-6 months had been very theoretical-I buy clothes, I buy dry bags, I pick up the vessel, I envision how the trip may evolve.  Right before launch the hard reality had set in, no turning back, I am canoeing to Dallas from this magical place in Southwest Montana.

The mayor of Twin Bridges came out to greet us and was very encouraging.  His interest and support was genuine, and I would like to give a big thank you to Tom Hyndman.  Perhaps when I arrive in Dallas, Tom,  we will see each other again!!!

Of course it was very hard to say goodbye to Vicki and my father, but I was also very excited to begin the journey.   The weather was perfect, the skies were blue with some distant clouds way over the mountains.  It did not seem like a storm would be brewing any time soon.

As I observed the river, it sure seemed like the water was moving quickly, much faster than the Trinity (although does the Trinity actually have any flow).  After an emotional goodbye to my wife and father I am on my way, wow was I moving!!  I’m not saying the water was like you envision the Colorado but I was definitely going fast.  I had anticipated to see other canoeists and kayakers on the river.  I saw none.  I did see a total of 3 drift boats (fisherman boats) the entire time.  Probably a bad sign.

Once I reached the confluence of the Beaverhead and Big Hole River forming the Jefferson I knew it would be an interesting few days on the Jefferson.  The Big Hole was like a big wide sweeping current pushing me into the Jefferson, shortly after I hit a couple holes and came out fine.  The Helinda (my boat name) was holding up great.  Hey, maybe I am a natual at this paddling deal.

After a few more hours paddling, I find a rock island to camp at for the night.  I was drained emotionally and to a lesser degree physically.  All was good until the Montana storm gods rolled in, the decision to camp in an open island appeared to be flawed.  This was confirmed once the wind moved in…getting my tent secured was quite challenging.

My tent did hold up and I managed a few hours of sleep, all of my emotions prevented me from sleeping soundly.  The next day started with another rainstorm and it took me a few hours to try and get organized.  You would not believe how frustrating it is to try and organize all your goods for a canoe trip. I think I have my floss here (Lil) but it isn’t where it is suppose to be, the dang lighter is not there either.  Why did I not put the propane with my stove?  That would just be too logical.   Anyway, I was also a bit nervous about the sound of rushing water ahead, I scouted it out and it was another Jefferson confluence type whirlpool.  It did take a few moments for me to try and think about how I wanted to tackle this one, I approached the swirl and successfully navigated around it.

This Jefferson River is not the slow lazy river I had anticipated.  All is good though, I am doing fine.  The next day and a half consisted of avoiding disasters at Diversion Dams, Chain of Rocks, and Irrigation Dams.  Finally, I Iam home free after I successfully navigate the Lewis and Clark Caverns corridor, which was basically white water.

I reach out to Norm Miller, who is the Ted Williams of Missouri River Paddlers (although I am not sure if he is a cryogenics fan), for some advice on the Missouri which I intend to reach tomorrow.  He is fired up to help me and suggests I call another paddler, Mike Comer, who is also from Dallas and is going to paddle to San Oui (or St Louis).  I reach out to Mike and we establish plans to meet at the Missouri River Headwaters around 1:00 Friday.

Things are looking up, I actually successfully navigated this river with no real disasters, my confidence is improving and what could possibly go wrong?





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One Response to Twin Bridges to 200 feet shy of Missouri Headwaters

  1. Pingback: Keith Lynch, leaving Memphis. | TomTrek

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