June 15, Day 84
Mosquitoes were plentiful as I begin to pack up. These are mosquitoes that take pride in their job. There’s no messing around, wishy-washiness about them, they go right for the blood. I wore my raincoat which is completely bite proof.
There has been more irrigation pipes coming out of the river in Montana so far. I noticed the same thing on the lower Yellowstone when I paddled it four years ago.
I passed a hen wood duck with some fuzzy little ones trailing behind. I get a kick out of how when they get to a beach the little guys start sprinting up the beaches as fast they can go. It’s humorous for me, but I suppose they think they’re running for their lives.
I was noticing also how when I passed a hen mallard and some little ones she would get lower and lower on the water and put her head flat down, so her beak is right along the surface. When I overtook some geese and fuzzy goslings, the goslings would often suddenly dive, and stay under for remarkably long time.
The river was often lined with beautiful high banded badlands-style bluffs sometimes, with visible cold seams.
I saw a canoe coming down the river and I thought I was going to see my first fellow long distance paddler, but it turned out to be two canoes and a keelboat(?) style craft headed down for the rendezvous at Fort Union. The big boat had paddlers and a sail.
Another mark of westward progress is that I’m now in the Mountain Time zone. Of course I’m still operating by the solar day on the river. I paddled a little later than I might have looking for a nice campsite. I finally found one on the same bend as the Lewis and Clark campsite of April 28, 1805.
Usually I find a more protected spot but this was a beauty, right along the river and no unusually strong winds were predicted. The sun came out late, bathing the Bluffs in the river with that beautiful low evening light. Colter
Clark: 28th of April Sunday 1805… wind favourable from the S. E. and moderate, I walked on Shore to view the Countrey, from the top of the high hills, I beheld a broken & open Countrey on both Sides, near the river Some verry handsom low plains… great numbers of Elk antelopes & 2 Gangues of Buffalow, the hills & Bluffs Shew the Straturs of Coal…
Trip overview and route map with position updates: