Upper Missouri NWSR Canoe Trip 2009


Day Six

This morning we had the first of our freeze dried breakfasts: scrambled eggs and ham with peppers. Perfectly edible! A male counselor from the group of "happy campers" yelled "GOOD MORNING MONTANA!" and the herd of sheeple responded "GOOD MORNING!" Good morning indeed, asshole. I had the strong urge to grab the rifle, especially as they were far too chipper to be well-armed, but decided that river was definitely preferable to penitentiary.
We were excited not to have to break camp and put together some day packs for our hike. We explored Neat Coulee, but ran into lots of other hikers. Thankfully there was a large boulder blocking the path some way in, which deterred most others from continuing and made for a much more peaceful environment.
Up high, at the lip of a three way split between ravines, we took a break for a smoke and a cocktail and enjoyed the view for a while. On our way back to the main path we became disoriented and ended up scrambling down a very precarious succession of animal paths to descend a huge and steep hillside, with the sound of rattlers coming from multiple directions. We happily found a people path again at the bottom of the coulee and headed back towards camp.
On the way we saw an odd little cave up a hillside. I scrambled all the way up but there wasn't much to see and the cave had animal tracks leading into it so I discouraged dad from doing the same, and I slid down on my ass in about a tenth of the time it had taken to claw my way up.
Back in camp we sheltered from the heat, took a nap, and read for a while. How nice to have a day off from paddling! We then decided to cool off in the river, walked upstream for a bit, and jumped in. When we had floated down almost to the level of our campsite, we decided to swim across and explore the right bank.
About two thirds of the way across I decided to turn back as the current was strong, I was holding my flip flops, and I figured the swim back would be exhausting. Dad saw me and said "what are you doing?" to which I shouted back "fuck it!" but he didn't see that I was swimming back and I didn't see that he wasn't. I swam back to our side, had a cigarette, put on a shirt, and started to become concerned when dad didn't show up.
Dad had just, with great effort and in some fear, managed to reach the other bank but the current there was much swifter and there was no way he could swim back. Finally we saw each other across the river, and he yelled for me to fetch the canoe and come get him. I was concerned about going too far downstream paddling alone and us then not being able to make it back upstream, but the canoe turned out to be far nimbler without all our stuff in it, and it turned out ok.
We snapped at one another for a while before letting it go and having a dinner of alfredo pasta with smoked salmon and spinach, with apple sauce for dessert. I worked on the journal for a little while and we finished off with a fire and another fantastic starry sky.  There's really no way to explain how amazing the night sky is out West, thousands of times more stars than I've ever seen with the constellations clearly visible and the Milky Way a thick soupy band across the sky. We also saw a bright light traverse the sky at about the same time each night and believe it to be the ISS. How cool to be sitting by a fire out in the wilderness and see astronauts zip by overhead.

Jacob Saunders | Create Your Badge
Jacob Saunders