|Big Sky Country|
MONTANA’S WILD AND SCENIC UPPER MISSOURI RIVER
“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.”
Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It
The Missouri River is the longest river in North America, and one of the longest in the world, even though its lower section is named the Mississippi. The Upper Missouri National Wild and Scenic River flows east for some 150 miles through some of the wildest, loneliest, and most historically significant stretches of open space in the lower 48. This desolate and fissured landscape is known as the Missouri Breaks. Meriwether Lewis called this country "scenes of visionary enchantment"—an appraisal that still holds true today.
The section from Fort Benton to Coal Banks is studded with islands and riverbanks alive with wildlife and various birdlife. Deer, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, elk, and 212 species of birds call this place home. Its scenic sweep through some of Montana's best riparian habitat is matched only by its place in the heart of the country's historic westward expansion—Lewis and Clark made their way past the same wilderness bluffs some 200 years ago.
When we aren’t playing on the water we will take the time to explore the narrow canyons, sandstone arches, and the same shorelines where Lewis and Clark made their camps. In the spectacular White Cliffs area we will make the climb to the famous Hole-in-the-Wall. In other wilderness areas we will discover ravines, abandoned homesteads, and the remains of native Indians in the form of rock circles.
All trip participants need to fly into the Great Falls Airport on August 19th. A private shuttle is being arranged to take everyone to the town of Fort Benton to our campsite.
The return shuttle will be taking folks from Fort Benton to the Great Falls airport on August 28, by 11:00 am.
Last year’s campsites in order were:
Day 1: Wood Bottom
Day 2: Coal Banks
Day 3: Hole in the Rock
Day 4: The Wall
Day 5: McGary Bottom
Day 6: Gist Bottom
Day 7: Take out at Kipp Recreation Area
The plan is to paddle the entire 149 miles of the National Scenic portion of the river, however, if the water is super low, head winds are too strong, or the group shows signs of slowing down, we will alter the route and mileage if needed. Please don't expect an itinerary set in stone. We will be traveling on natures time. Several times in the past years we have had to put in at Coal Banks.
|The Vermillion Cliffs|
The Lewis and Clark Journals: An American Epic of Discovery (Lewis & Clark Expedition) by Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and Gary E. Moulton
Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West by Stephen Ambrose
|WILD AND SCENIC|
PRIMARY GEAR LIST FOR PARTICIPANTS:
Every canoe will be carrying some of the group gear and 12 gallons of water. Pack light.
Small day pack or fanny pack
Personal medical supplies (Prescriptions, inhaler, antibiotics, etc.)
Flashlight or head lamp
Prescription Glasses/Contact lenses and supplies
Spare tent stakes
Sleeping Bag (Temperature appropriate)
Camp pillow or stuff bag to fill with clothing to serve as pillow
Waterproof stuff bag for sleeping bag
Waterproof stuff sacks (For clothing and other gear)
Equipment repair supplies
Knife, fork, spoon
Knife (Swiss Army™ or good a folding model)
Feminine hygiene products
Pack towel/wash rag
Water shoes or sandals
Raingear - waterproof/breathable jacket
Fleece or wool shirt or sweater
Light weight camping pants
Long Sleeve shirt - light weight (Great for sun protection)
Gloves (For paddling and warmth)
Optional Stuff (but nice)
Journal and pen
Waterproof Camera Bag
Favorite beverage (alcohol can be purchased in Fort Benton)