Packrafting the Smith River: Day 4

Packrafting the Smith River: Day 4 Gusty winds blew across the bench above the river where we were camped last night at Rattlesnake Bend. They swirled around unpredictably and I slept with one eye open wondering if one of the big limbs belong to the fir tree sheltering my bivy sack was going to come…

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Packrafting the Smith River: Day 3

I’ve always held fast to the idea that spending time in the wilderness offers the clarity of thought that comes with having to make fewer inane decisions, being insulated from the incessant distractions of information bombardment and technology access, ridding oneself of the trivial urgency that demands the same level of excitement from you as…

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Packrafting the Smith River: Day 2

Today we paddled 17 miles in summer-like heat, enjoyed good river flows and solitude, and startled a swimming bear. // Last night I stealth camped, cowboy style in my bivy sack, under pines in the forest above the river and behind our camp. I packed up before sunrise, and walked down to the river to…

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Packrafting the Smith River: Day 1

Five o’clock came awfully early this morning, but when I realized after my first cup of coffee that I’d be floating the Smith River in a packraft by nine, my grogginess was replaced by anticipation. After a grab-and-go breakfast of hard-boiled eggs, Greek yogurt, and toasted bagels, we piled into the van and began the…

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Staging for the Smith River

As of today, the Smith River is running about 190 cfs, which is a good level for packrafts. It’s too low for big rafts, way too low for drift boats, and OK for canoes. I love boating rivers in a packraft. It means we can sneak in when others can’t, and enjoy off-season solitude on…

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Reflections from Windy Pass

September 13, 2014 Windy Pass Cabin Gallatin National Forest Montana “To countless people the wilderness provides ultimate delight because it provides the thrills of jeopardy and beauty. It is the last stand for that glorious adventure into the physically unknown.” – Bob Marshall, Founder of the Wilderness Society ::: We left Bozeman this morning for…

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