Tag Archives: canoeing

No Sweat

It’s been hot here in Missoula lately, so I’ve been chasing adventures that tend to keep me cool.  I haven’t succeeded in not sweating, but I certainly have had a lot of fun.  Just as Ramesh and I got back from Glacier National Park last week, my close friend Andy (and his lovely lady Sarah) rolled in from Chicago.  They’re out backpacking in the Bitterroot now, but wanted to check out Missoula and catch up before they checked in to the deep wild.

We hit the Clark fork in the canoe last Sunday, but the Clark Fork hit us back with some spicy rapids and strong flows.  There was no shortage of getting wet, but that also meant there was a shortage of photos.  Boats were flipped, a few minor pieces of gear got lost, but the smiles stayed on and we made an adventure of it.

One of the rare photos of me and Andy- on the far end of Como Lake.

Wednesday night Andy and Sarah were ready to head in, and despite a full on week of work, I made a last minute decision to sneak out with them for a night in the woods.  We took off out of Missoula at 530, made a few stops on our way to Como lake, and started hiking around 8pm.  We made camp at 10pm, I slept until 5, and then hobbled as best as I could back to the car to drive into work.  It was a long commute that I sincerely did not mind.

If only every commute could start with this view…

Saturday I got the climbing itch, bad, and knew I’d be far from adventure activities due to some upcoming work commitments, so I tracked down a partner and headed out for an easy romp up No Sweat Arete (4p, 5.7, II) in Mill Creek.  Overcast skies kept temperatures reasonable, and after over a month of being off the rock, getting in a few pitches felt awesome.  My right hand is still well injured from tearing a pulley in early June, but my foot is coming back together nicely so mellow terrain was in order.  There’s still nothing I enjoy quite like a nice multipitch outing.

I still don’t know if this is actually the first pitch…

Jen- figuring it out, backpack and all.

Major props to my new friend Jen for completing her first multi-pitch climb, and carrying a sizable pack to boot.  Now that I know the route, we’ll take less stuff next time… thanks for a great day out lady!

Still smiling after pitch 4… only one more to go.

One off the top for good measure. And yes, there is a 1,000ft unclimbed wall behind me…

Like Civilized Men

I spent last week introducing an old friend to new places and new ideas- safe to say we both learned a few things and had a hell of a good time.  Ramesh showed up from Houston on Tuesday morning.  I took care of a few work items, while he explored downtown and hiked “the M.”  I wrapped up work and we started a 5 day blitz of all that western Montana had to offer: live music, rodeo, pow-wow, Walmart (really?), downtown Missoula, BBQ, fireworks, Big Dipper Ice Cream, and wilderness.  With the last piece being the most important, I knew that Glacier National Park more than anywhere else, was probably just the best place to introduce my friend to the wilderness for the first time.  The photos tell the story better than I can:

Lake McDonald. Gateway to Glacier National Park.

The boat I borrowed was still there after 160 miles…

Boat + Car + Mountains = Adventure

Ramesh learns to move some water- and rock a cowboy hat.

Kintla Lake = Perfection.

My friend opened his heart to this place, and had more questions than I had answers to.

High country.

Learning the skills. Ramesh was happy to nail the flint and steel, and I was happy to nail the photo!

An evening with civilized men.

Our paths since living together in college have differed, but sharing time in the wild was the  perfect way to reconnect.  The opportunity to share my love and skills for traveling in these places was sublime.  We enjoyed perfect weather, a perfect route, and perfect conversation.  There’s too much even to blog about, and more on the way- stay tuned.

Tech details: Day 1- drive to Polebridge, MT, get a little lost, find Kintla Lake, canoe to lower Kintla backcountry camp.  Day 2- reload gear, backpack to upper Kintla Lake backcountry camp, then day hike to snowline below boulder pass, Day 3- hike back to boat at Lower Kintla, canoe to car, drive to Missoula for epic dinner with more new friends.