Dry dirt in the North Fork

The weather forecast, and webcams this morning were all uninspiring, and I was concerned with balancing pent up energy with recovery from illness.  After some indecision and coffee, and decided to go packrafting.  Better to boat in the rain than ride or ski in the rain.

It was pissing rain in Columbia Falls, but once I got to Polebridge it never more than sprinkled off and on for the rest of the day.  With no desire to futz with snowshoes, I walked up the (closed to cars) Inside North Fork road.

No snow out in the open, lots of animals out and about.

A fox, a couple dozen elk, lots of deer, and a bunch of prairie dogs and ground squirrels.

As a day to put in some miles on the feet, this exceeded expectations.

The snow also continues to exceed expectations.  We’ve had sun, but not much as far as warm temps go, so anything with any consistent shade still has feet of snow (even below, at 3700′).

With no desire to posthole, I bushwacked down to the river.  My new shoes gripped great on the ice.

The North Fork lower down had been red-brown and angry, but about the major, lower tributaries were merely milky and fast.  I floated back to the truck in half the time it took to walk up, snagged a coffee and some baked goods at the now open Polebridge Mercantile, and drove home.  Content.

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