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A little bit of Montana

Summer season of 2008 is kicking into full swing, with runoff booming all over the west. We've headed out, and here's the first mini-report from the road.

The Mad Dash Out of Town
After almost a week of packing, we left home on a Monday evening, headed for Montana. We finally rolled into Missoula bleary eyed on Wednesday night, and made plans to paddle on Thursday with local Jesse Kodadek on Kootenai Creek. We were still a bit tired, and were a bit intimidated to find that the hot weather was bringing the level up fast when we got there. We hiked on up and gave it a shot.

Jesse pointed out the lines to us on the way up the trail. The creek is pretty continuous, so a good memory of what you saw on the hike up is essential.

The bulk of the early part of the run was class III/IV, very fast moving creeky stuff. The water was up, making that section a lot of fun. We finally reached the top of the final gorge, which begins with a narrow pinch called "skinny hips."

Jesse plugging into Skinny Hips.

Just below the pinch is the falls, which begins the meat of the final gorge, which runs a couple hundred yards down around a corner.

Andria dropping the falls.

Jesse and Andria headed off down the final gorge.

After Jesse and Andria had disappeared around the corner, I loaded my camera back in my boat and shoved off and peeled out over the falls and down the meat. As I rounded the final blind corner, I could see their boats on the bank on river left just over the last horizon line. I gunned for the eddy, boofing cleanly over the final 7 footer. When I landed, I realized that there was a rock separating the eddy from the meaty hole at the base of the drop, and that I was on the wrong side of that rock. I had scouted this on the way up, but after all of that driving and fatigue, my memory let me down on that final line. The only way out was through the hole, and before I could really think about the implications of my position I was going end-over-end backwards into the hole. Chalk up my second hole beating of the young season, and my first swim in Montana. Thanks to Jesse for chasing my boat down!

When in Montana....

The following day I flew out to California for an AW board meeting and some paddling, and got a great shot of the Kootenai Creek drainage from the air. That tan/brown spot at the top left side of the right hand field in the bottom of the picture is the takeout parking lot at the end of the final gorge.

Stay tuned soon for a report on my California trip and the AW board meeting!