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

First Montana Camp

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: