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all work and no play makes Brad…

August 8, 2010

…well, I don’t suppose I’d know, since I just got back from a day of playing on the lower Clark Fork River, more or less safely (dilution being the solution to pollution) 170 miles downstream of the Superfundy part I’ve been paddling lately. My buddy Matt (in the stern; it’s his boat, and he knows what he’s doing) and I drove 45 minutes west of Missoula to the Clark Fork’s gorgeous Alberton Gorge, a roughly 7-mile stretch of some of the sweetest whitewater anywhere, and a stretch I haven’t had a chance to canoe since the fall of 2007.

In stark contract to the upper river, which comprises the country’s largest Superfund reclamation site, the relatively untouched Alberton Gorge section was brought into public ownership and protected in 2004 through a series of land acquisitions involving Missoula’s Five Valleys Land Trust, NorthWestern Energy, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, the U.S. Forest Service, and the River Network.

There are half a dozen named class II-III rapids on this stretch, and the one we’re plowing through below, called Tumbleweed, is probably the trickiest. At least it’s the one that scares me most. We’re running it here on Friday at 3,050 cfs, and shortly after this picture was taken (by Michael Malament, who runs a fantastic service called Montana River Photography) we were shrieking like little girls with adrenaline and relief at being upright, which isn’t always, or even often, how one comes out of Tumbleweed in a canoe.

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 9, 2010 1:05 pm

    Nice picture! You the man, Brad!

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