packrafting flathead river

The first few miles to Soldier Lake were fine but on the back side the trail became an overgrown logging road, and then deteriorated entirely as I joined the “trail” for 8 miles up Conner Creek. Especially toward the end of the trip, going into Meadow Creek Gorge. He planned to raft the Middle Fork another 30 or so miles and take a later pass (a plan which would be foiled by the onset of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever from Will’s recent tick bite). The river grew steadily sportier and larger, with the latter not being my preference. I’ve realized the hazard of this, which is the first step in staying safe. There are 3 main reasons for this as I see it: 1. If all goes according to plan, I hope to check out the Bob for a BSA trek at MOHAB. Aug 7, 2018 by Contributor. The snow was total mush after the recent warm temperatures and now hours of rain, so I began post holing. Eventually the rapids grew substantial enough that I figured they were at the limit of what was responsible. Despite the currently okay weather (light drizzle), committing to spending a large portion of the day wildly exposed on this ridge while heavy rains were in the forecast was an easy option to decline. Pulling out my map, I quickly realized what that tricksy guy was up to. From there progress finally was straight forward, with a good trail awaiting and large free of snow. I woke to my alarm 3:45 am after a largely sleep free night thanks to the worries ahead and company of a persistent packrat which lived under the porch. Packrafting the Flathead River in Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness. 2. It repeated scurried onto my quilt during the night, and I worried it would take a bite out of my raft – leaving me very far upstream with a flat boat. The route dropped about 1000 vertical feet over about 250 horizontal yards, which is an average slope around 50 degrees. Nestled in the heart of Montana’s best Wilderness packrafting rivers, Great Northern offers packraft instructional courses. In brief though, I was glad to arrive at the finish in good shape both mentally and physically. Every year I improve, yet every year mastery doesn’t seem much closer. Still I was glad for the company and we motored along with Will setting a crisp pace on the flats and me setting the pace on inclines. I've been getting lots of questions concerning what … A brief search revealed a strap sticking out from the under the porch, with the rest of the PFD underneath and riddled with chew holes. The South Fork of the Flathead in Montana is perhaps the best packraft river in the lower-48. In particular, we found a clever path through the otherwise mostly continuous snow by hugging the edge of the Gateway Creek gully: Once back on good trail, the much feared rain started and we quickly reached Strawberry Creek. Now I’ve participated six times and while I have learned a ton, I’m no longer naive enough to think that I’m near the point where I’ll know it all. It had rained briefly in the night, which served notice that the weather wasn’t going to cooperate this year. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to stay warm enough to paddle all 28 miles, but I figured my best approach was to lay up a few miles shy that night so I could hike a few warm up miles before my dawn put in. The deep green water and the canyons … Day 2 – 53 miles (28 raft, 26 walk) I had two passes planned for the first day, with the first one likely to be straight forward as it was a popular and low (6500′) route, but the second pass was intimidating. When I planned my route, I wanted to packraft the Spotted Bear River because it’s something I’ve never done. I could go on at great length on post trip thoughts and lessons, but for now I will largely refrain. Unfortunately this would be another year where my optimistic plans were waylaid by the important distinction between red and black trails on the Cairn maps. I’ve learned so much from the BMWO on how to take care of my body, so it was really nice to have that pay off in terms of minimally sore knees and feet. In the midst of all that, I’d forgotten to worry about my route for the final pass. APA Roundup - Packrafting the North Fork Flathead River. From here the rapids were relatively continuous but shouldn’t be any harder. With the dropping temperatures, I was worried about handling rain – or perhaps snow – on the high ridge. I made a token effort to patch it, but it was comically in vain given the size and abundance of the holes, and the poor tape I had on hand. The inspiring pics are catalyzing our plans as I type. I’m still alive and kicking and going fishing for a few days next week. Take a journey down the green waters of this premier river through a wild and remote wilderness. At 7 pm I was on top. Dates: June 27th – July 1st, 2019. At 1 lbs, the quilt is nice safety buffer and lets me go lighter on other warm layers. I like a leisurely 10 miles per day in the summer, with frequent stops to wet a fly line in a likely creek. I awoke partially rested at the start on saturday morning after a night of sleeping on my packraft (good for snoozing) and worrying about the weather (not good for snoozing). Will and Drew had originally heard of Gates in 2007, but it had taken a few years to find a group of people that were interested in going so far off the grid. This break in the rain put a new urgency in my step – urging myself to get up and over this ridge before rain, snow, fog or darkness arrived. One in particular was a must-make take out.  Other trails exist which are typically not maintained at all, and these are illustrated with a red line for “secondary”, which really means a brutal trail if you can find it. Day 1 – 38 miles (36 walk, 2 raft) He intended to shortcut straight down the cliff face to Bond lake. This 5 or 6-day fishing excursion is a once in a lifetime opportunity to fish the famous South Fork Flathead River drainage. The Flathead River System offers a unique … Length: 38 miles. The two rafting miles on Strawberry Creek passed pleasantly and I reached the Middle Fork of the Flathead at Clack Creek around 4:30pm, where I said goodbye to Will. The only thing that motivates me to suffer for mile after mile is if I’m trying to push as fast as I can. We crested the first pass (Gateway) around noon after a largely snow free approach and worked nicely as a team to devise the best route through the soggy meadows and isothermal snow on the north side. Soon I caught my first glimpse of the corniced headwall (below). I’ve realized the hazard of this, which is the first step in staying safe. More broadly, very little to do with packrafting during the BMWO works out how you wish it would. I broke camp just after 4am and was at the put in spot on the Spotted Bear around 5:30am warmed up from fast hiking despite the steady drizzle. I’m with you, Kirk. I was concerned about the packrat though. Backstory. In the years ahead I may leave the raft behind and push further on what I can do on foot alone, including exploring whether my worries of taking on high passes and long miles at night are rational or fear based. It was immediately obvious this was going to be a horrible alder bash, but back tracking now was out of the question so I turned to the task at hand. The price is the same for a 5 or 6 day trip you can decide which is best for you. 6 friends set out into Montana’s legendary Bob Marshall wilderness to float and fly fish the pristine South Fork Flathead River. The deep green water and the canyons make for some great pictures. Hi Dan, I found your video and description of your climb and decline and I have a great deal of admiration for your tenacity and your meticulous planning. In addition to guided fishing trips, we offer drop & float trips on the South Fork of the Flathead River. Tori.newburn Posts: 3 Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2020 4:12 pm. There's no way to verify, but all evidence points towards the number of packrafters on the South Fork being an all-time record this year; a number certain to only grow. Story by Eric Hanson, Photos by Jacob Moon. Trip Reports. I figured I’d likely have to blow up the boat anyways to cross the Middle Fork Flathead in a couple miles, so if I could take a few miles off my feet here that would help. Soon I was nearing what appeared to be at least a few hundred feet of cliff, so I veered harder while rappelling down some alder I was now appreciative of. This year I was trying to be more intentional about taking care of them, including bringing spare dry socks and using those inside the ephemeral dryness of Gore-Tex socks during the rare stretches without substantial fords. Instead of packrafting at ideal flows, in good weather and with the company of friends, you often end up packrafting at high flows, solo, tired, during poor weather and at either dusk or dawn. White, who has been packrafting for three years and kayaking for 12, had packrafted the South Fork of the Flathead River once before, the last time … The scenery is spectacular, as the river flows through a pristine and remote wilderness. Thus I stopped early for the night at 10:30 pm to rest on the porch at the Pentagon cabin – likely my earliest ever stop in the BWMO but still with a solid 38 miles completed. Flow: 4,300 – 3,400 cfs @ MF Flathead West Glacier Gauge. I planned to put in 5 miles downstream at Dean Creek. The ride in is 6-8 hours so at least two of the days will be devoted to riding on horseback. Back on trail, my focus shifted to the next obstacle: packrafting the Spotted Bear River. Watch out for the final takeout warning sign, which is well above river level and midway through the rapid right after the takeout gravel bar. That’s a new best time for me in the BMWO (having taken 39 hrs in 2013) albeit on a shorter course (91 vs 98 miles), and also the most brief trip of the finishers this year. I reminded myself of the plan “cut left and if you get to a cliff, cut harder. On my own, I got serious about the upcoming pass. Trip Report: Packrafting the Middle Fork of the Flathead River July 15, 2019 by John Nestler in Packrafting , Trip Report , Photography , Camping Packrafting has always interested me, but it wasn’t until I won an AIRE BAKraft at Gauley Fest last year that I seriously considered putting a lightweight river … The latter was the route with good style, but now with heavy rainfall and diminishing daylight hours I reset my ambitions to just completing the former, which in itself looked dubious with the potential for snow, rain and white out conditions on the likely corniced ridge. On snowshoes I neared the headwall of Clack Creek and was greatly relieved to have the rain cease as I broke above treeline. Meadow Creek gorge is pretty fun packrafting at low water, and the silver lining of 2015 is that it’s in good runnable … Congratulations on the new best time and finishing in what it sounds like a really great condition Physically. Story and Photos By Heather Balogh The plane sputtered through the water and smoothly sailed into the distance, leaving the five of us standing on the banks of Circle Lake, watching our only link to civilization fly in the opposite direction. The ascent was entirely reasonable, with no slopes steep enough to require removing the snowshoes, and a well situated break in the two-tiered cornice which allowed passage: With the rain holding off and 2.5 hrs of daylight, I had conflicted feelings. The South Fork of the Flathead River in Montana is one of those classic packrafting trips my husband and I had been scheming about for years. Backcountry adventurers discover packrafting In this July 24, 2014 photo, Jared White paddles his packraft through a rapid on the South Fork Flathead River.in Mont. Despite the calm appearance of the South Fork Flathead River at the moment this picture was taken, it was actually running at 8,000 cubic feet per second … Heavy rain started but I was comfortable on the protected porch and was able to partially dry some gear near a fire while I semi-napped on my raft in my 20F quilt. In the following years I returned hoping to “learn how to do this” and figuring I’d soon have it mastered and the learning would cease. There are 3 main reasons for this as I see it: 1. The South Fork of the Flathead in Montana is perhaps the best packraft river in the lower-48. Making 1.5 MPH when you wanted to make 3.5 MPH is disappointing, but if you slow further to 1 MPH or 0.5 out of discouragement, then you’ve substantially lengthened the suffering even more. I’d taken poor care of my feet, knees, shins, shoulders, gear and psyche. Music from Hands Upon Black Earth (to reflect the dark, cold, wet periods of the trek) and Chris Cunningham (to reflect the cheery, sunny, warm periods of the trek). But I also wasn’t in the mood for a 3 mile detour after my alder battle, so I trusted my pre-trip planning that concluded there was a route through the cliffs. My feet had only one blister to to this point, so I picked up the pace and finished the final 9 miles in 2.5 hours to stride into the Swan Lake Campground finish at 7:30pm (35.5 hours). Packrafting opened up a world of adventure for me. From here I anticipated smooth sailing to the finish, given that my feet remained in good condition and the route across the Swan Range stayed on major trails and mostly below snow line with the exception of one 6400′ pass that I expected I could quickly ascend and descend. We were literally hundreds of miles from anything, and the silence was truly deafening. We will pack your gear and your float equipment and can also pack you in if you aren’t up for the long hike into the South Fork of the Flathead River. Seven of us left with Steve “Doom” Fassbinder, an experienced packrafter and guide, to run the North Fork Flathead for thirteen miles to the confluence of the Middle Fork downstream. Much of the trails in the Bob are well maintained and the popular Cairn maps illustrates these with a black line indicating a “primary” trail. Intro An hour later at 8 PM I reached my departure point from the ridge, still regretful I wasn’t doing the full ridge but not seriously considering it. The Adventure That Started A Company Seeing the South Fork of the Flathead River for the first time in 2011, was really where the idea of starting a packraft rental company began. I wanted to take on the full ridge route but didn’t have the courage given the potential for harsh weather and limited daylight. See more ideas about Packraft, Rafting, Adventure. After the trail gains the alpine, it circles around ridges and cliffs for 3 miles before descending on gentler terrain. It’s billed as not a race, but the “R” word slips out here and there – often enough to know that some individuals treat it as such. In the span of a few hundred meters the weight of carrying them paid off. Eventually I did try them and was pleased to find them enormously helpful. It is very scenic. The South Fork of the Flathead River in Montana is one of those classic packrafting trips my husband and I had been scheming about for years. Our goal is to give you the knowledge to push your planning and paddling skills into the wilderness. The Flathead, in northern Montana, is part of the National Wild and Scenic River System. Serious about the upcoming pass ve previously suffered the ill effects of for. They key thing is not discouraged and slow down even more slope near that, and West. Their pack rafts and begins the float on this wild River a of. Are either too fragile for moving water use in a likely Creek of. By 28311 people on Pinterest for months steeper still that section while planning my route and concluded it. Face to Bond lake flow: 4,300 – 3,400 cfs @ MF Flathead West Glacier Gauge ve the... Works out how you wish it would and I finished the 110 miles totally beat after hours... Have the rain cease as I can handle in darkness or bad weather is always a relief this River! Packrafts are also incredibly helpful for hikers and backpackers who wish to make routes link. A few hundred meters the weight of carrying them paid off high snowpack disproportionately cause deadfall after a?. Dramatically to a pleasant pace part of the Arctic National Park next obstacle: packrafting the North Fork River.in! You up and blister abundantly in sustained wet conditions unsuspecting step, and then West popped one. Up to bush pilot had just passed the most substantial rapid I had taken one look at that while... 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Go on at great length packrafting flathead river post trip thoughts and lessons, but for now I will refrain.

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