July           On the Wild and Scenic Missouri.  This 150 mile stretch of the
18-25:       Missouri is divided into two sections: the lower half flows
                   through badlands, has richer wildlife encounters, and fewer
                   floaters, while the upper half flows through the dramatic white
                   cliffs area (actually they’re gray), has less varied wildlife (no
                   mountain sheep or antelope), and swarms of floaters (some
                   with no appreciation for the country they’re passing through). 
                   I much preferred the lower section.  I took a brief rest at the
                   James Kipp recreation area - the end of the Wild and Scenic
                   section, but the beginning for me - where I met several
                   groups of wonderfully supportive and generous people. 
                   Everyone was unloading whatever treats they had.  I had
                   birthday cake, homemade turkey jerky, fresh fruit, and fresh
                   cold cuts provided by Russell Young, one of the river
                   outfitters.  I think I could have lived all summer at that
                   campsite, just off people’s good will and leftovers.  James
                   Kipp is where the serious canoeists and kayakers go, and the
                   encouragement I got from all those I met meant a great deal
                   to me.  I set out from James Kipp thinking I could get to Ft.
                   Benton in 6 or 7 days.  Big mistake.  The current on the lower
                   part is strong, and there are numerous rapids, which meant
                   that I was frequently wading upstream, pulling my boat
                   behind me, a la Lewis and Clark.  I managed to log more than
                   45 miles my first two days, but that was only after putting in
                   10 hours per day of paddling.  On my second day I pulled into
                   a campsite completely exhausted, and who should be there
                   but Russell Young with another group he was taking
                   downstream.  His group had just finished dinner, and he
                   offered me leftovers: grilled salmon, fettuccini with pesto,
                   fresh bread, ice cold juice, and cookies.  It was manna from
                   heaven.  Lewis and Clark sure never had it this good!  That
                   night I decided to forget about pushing so hard to get to Ft.
                   Benton.  There’s lots to see on this part of the river, so why
                   not enjoy it a little?  For the next 4 days I cut back on my
                   paddling, averaging only 6 ˝ hours a day, and found the
                   going much more relaxing.  Along the way I saw numerous
                   deer, antelopes, and mountain sheep, and an occasional
                   eagle, as well as some spectacular scenery.  And for the first
                   time in a month I saw people on the river.  Stephen
                   Ambrose’s and Ken Burns’ works have done a lot to increase
                   public interest in this part of the river, and I was constantly
                   meeting groups coming downstream.  It made me aware of
                   how isolated I had become on the lakes section.  I expect to
                   see more folks on my route from here until at least the Snake
                   River.  Traffic on the Wild and Scenic River is a mixed
                   blessing, however.  Most people have some feel for the river
                   experience, but there are some who clearly don’t.  Once in a
                   while I saw groups who were only interested in having a
                   floating keg party, and at one of my campsites some people
                   had the gall to set off fireworks - this in a region that is being
                   consumed by forest fires.  I reported them to the authorities,
                   and realized at that moment that despite all my cursing I
                   have come to love this river.  I care about its well-being, and
                   I want to protect it from those who don’t care about it.  Traffic
                   is only going to increase as we get nearer the bicentennial,
                   and the river and its campsites will surely become degraded
                   unless the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) decides to
                   restrict access by requiring permits for floaters.

                    Click here for days 110 - 116 of Richard's journal