August 2: Lots of rapids today, and consequently lots of wading and
                  towing, especially between Pelican Point and the I-15 bridge. 
                  This stretch of the river reminds me of the Wild and Scenic
                  stretch.  The river flows through a narrow canyon, with craggy
                  mountains plunging straight down to the water.  I find the
                  landscape here more spectacular than the Wild and Scenic, but
                  there is less wildlife and more houses.  The entire canyon is
                  lined with fishing camps and summer homes, and there are
                  anglers everywhere - most of them too engrossed in their
                  fishing to acknowledge an upstream paddler.

August 3: The river flattened out today, and I had an easy paddle to
                  Holter Dam.  I encountered lots more anglers today, many of
                  whom had a serious attitude problem.  They seemed to feel
                  that a lone upstream paddler was going to ruin their dayís
                  fishing.  As I was pulling my kayak through some rapids,
                  struggling with my footing on slippery rocks in ankle-to-knee
                  deep water, I came around a bend and met one fly-fisherman
                  who had the gall to ask me to walk more quietly!  I wanted to
                  tell him to shove his fishing rod where the moon doesnít shine,
                  but I curbed my tongue and instead suggested to him that
                  when one is pulling 200 lbs. Over rocks through rapids it is
                  generally difficult to tiptoe.  Some of these anglers take their
                  recreation a bit too seriously.  Anyways, I had an easy portage
                  over Holter Dam, and Iím camped on the lake tonight.

                  
                  Holter Lake...first view of real peaks.

August 4: I zipped along today, and made it to Hauser Dam (more than
                  20 miles) in 5 hours.  Along the way I passed through the
                  most spectacular section of the river, the Gates of the
                  Mountains, where sheer cliffs plummet several hundred feet
                  straight down to the river.  The last few days, Iíve become
                  aware that Iím near the Rockies now.  I can see mountain
                  ranges in the distance, and Iím traveling through country
                  characterized by craggy ridges and ponderosa pines.  I have
                  only about 250 miles until the Continental Divide, and the
                  closer I get, the faster I want to get there.

August 5: After a pleasant overnight stay in Helena, I left from Black Sandy State
                  Park and made it to Canyon Ferry Dam in 3 hours - a rate of almost 5
                  mph!  There I faced an insurmountable obstacle.  There is no easy
                  access to the lake from below the dam, only a circuitous road which
                  eventually leads to the top of the dam.  I was in the midst of trying to
                  figure out how to get above the dam when I met 3 French Canadians -
                  who had a huge semi!  They offered to portage me, and I gladly
                  accepted.  Once we got to the top of the dam, I faced another problem. 
                  The north end of the lake was closed to boaters because of the forest
                  fires in the area.  The Canyon Ferry fires were under control, but
                  helicopters were still bucketing water from the lake to other fires. 
                  Thatís all I needed - to be scooped up by a helicopter and dumped on a
                  forest fire!  By promising to stay close to shore, I managed to convince
                  the BLM ranger to let me put in, and I was on my way again.

                  
                             Gates of the Mountains

August 6: I got an early start, and traversed the remaining 20 miles of the lake by
                  late morning, thankful to be off the last of the lakes before the wind
                  picked up.  At the headwaters of the lake, I encountered another
                  problem: a maze of channels, islands, and sandbars.  It took me an hour
                  to find the river, and once I did find it, the channel was so shallow that I
                  had to walk my kayak most of the two miles to Townsend.  I ended up
                  setting up camp at a site about 6 miles above Townsend.

August 7: My longest paddling day yet.  Anxious to get to Three Forks by
                  Tuesday, I was on the river from 6:30 am to 7:30 pm, and
                  paddled/pulled for 11 of those 13 hours.  I call days like these Lewis
                  and Clark days: long, arduous, with lots of towing.  Still, I am assured
                  of getting to the headwaters of the Missouri River and Three Forks
                  tomorrow.

August 8:I reached the headwaters of the Missouri River before noon and pushed
                 on up the Jefferson River 9 miles before pulling in and walking into
                 Three Forks.  At the Sacajawea Hotel, where Iím staying, a couple
                 asked me how it felt to conquer the Missouri River.  I had to say that I
                 donít feel like Iíve conquered anything.  First of all, I still have 150
                 miles of upstream paddling (and wading) on the Jefferson and
                 Beaverhead rivers until I get to Clark Canyon Dam and Camp Fortunate,
                 the jumping off point for Lewis and Clark on the overland part of their
                 expedition.  Secondly, even when I get to that point, I wonít feel like
                 Iíve conquered the rivers.  I will have completed the rivers, I will have
                 survived the rivers.  I will have an understanding of the rivers, but I
                 surely will not have conquered them.  They will remain the same
                 whether Iíve been here or not.  I do have a great sense of
                 accomplishment, having gotten this far.  Iím now only two weeks away
                 from the Continental Divide and downstream paddling!




                    Click here for days 124 - 130 of Richard's journal