Day 13: Exit & Re-Entry

We slept under the stars last night, cowboy style, as the embers from our final campfire faded in the light of the full moon. I couldn’t sleep. I knew I wanted to finish the expedition and ride the high that comes with accomplishing what you set out to do. I was also looking forward to…

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Day 12: South Fork of the Sun

Today we packrafted the South Fork of the Sun River from our secret campsite near Pretty Prairie to The Gorge. It may have been the funnest day of packrafting on the whole trip. The South Fork of the Sun is running at a healthy flow of around 550 or 600 cfs today, maybe. The waves…

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Day 11: West Fork Blues

I don’t have a prosperous relationship with the West Fork of the South Fork of the Sun River. Over the years, I’ve lost trophy trout in its submerged trees, slipped and swam in its slippery fords, and portaged its countless logjams with my packraft. But the West Fork has an allure that is hard to…

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Day 10: R & R in the West Fork

We have stopped for the day after a short hike to take a half day to recover from our arduous trek across the top of the Chinese Wall. We are camped on the banks of the West Fork of the South Fork of the Sun River in a shady grove of lodgepole pines. We have…

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Day 8 & 9: The Chinese Wall

Day 8 & 9 – The Chinese Wall On Monday we left the cozy shade of the lone pine tree at our meadow camp on the Upper White River and immediately started bushwhacking through a forest understory dominated by huckleberry and deadfall. We soon emerged into steep meadows and then onto a mixture of limestone…

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We are now on top of the Chinese Wall

We are now traveling atop the crest of thee Chinese Wall. There is no trail here. The terrain here consists of spartan landscaping dominated by sharp, limestone shale. There is a 2,000 foot cliff (the Chinese Wall) and huge snow cornices to our left. There is a steep shale slope to our right. It’s beautiful…

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Day 7: Staging for the Wall

Day 7 – Staging for the Wall We spent a great part of the morning today … “managing a medical issue.” Nothing terribly urgent, but one of those things that if you get it wrong, the consequences can be fatal. It wouldn’t be appropriate for me to live blog about it, so as to protect…

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Day 7: Staging for the Wall

Day 7 – Staging for the Wall We spent a great part of the morning today … “managing a medical issue.” Nothing terribly urgent, but one of those things that if you get it wrong, the consequences can be fatal. It wouldn’t be appropriate for me to live blog about it, so as to protect…

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Day 6: In View of The Wall

Day 6: In View of the Wall (sent the morning after when we got better sat reception!) Our objective for this trekking leg is simple: to complete an off trail traverse of the crest of the Chinese Wall from Larch Hill Pass to White River Pass. Today we spent trekking the first part of the…

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Day 6: In View of The Wall

Day 6: In View of the Wall Our objective for this trekking leg is simple: to complete an off trail traverse of the crest of the Chinese Wall from Larch Hill Pass to White River Pass. Today we spent trekking the first part of the approach to this objective. Heat, 3000 feet of elevation gain,…

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Day 5: The Mighty River (S Fk Flathead)

Day 5 Running at 7,500 to 8,000 cfs (as measured at the Hungry Horse gaging sta.), the South Fork of the Flathead is not exactly revealing its prim and proper summer behavior so well known to packrafters worldwide. In fact, it’s darn right rowdy and at times, a bit belligerent. We left our camp on…

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Day 4: Rapids!

Day 4 If yesterday was defined by wood then today shall be defined by whitewater. Running a river with a large group (we have 9) requires the presence of eddies that are able to accommodate the entire group if we are to “boat scout” the river (the process of river running where scouting is done…

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Five Stars at Big Prairie

Day 3 Early this morning we received a sat message confirming a downward trend in flows on the S Fk Flathead. Very exciting! We are wondering if we are the first crew of boaters here this season. We dropped our boats into Danaher Creek just below its confluence with Camp Creek late this morning and…

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