North Fork Falls Canyon

The lowest unroaded section of the North Fork of the Blackfoot is a proper packraft classic.  You can packraft it at kayak flows (~600 cfs or more), but I much prefer the pure boulder garden aesthetics and utterly clear water of true summer levels, with 350 cfs being ideal.  Casey and I got it, from…More

It

There is a meadow hidden below the center of the universe.  Going north, towards the sawtoothed limestone knobs and canyons you might for the expanse of sky miss entirely, a burnt bog curves in unison with the river.  To the eye water is held distinct from vegetation by a 10 foot band of cobbles.  The…More

Ending tourism

“To be a mass tourist, for me, is to become a pure late-date American: alien, ignorant, greedy for something you cannot ever have, disappointed in a way you can never admit.  It is to spoil, by way of sheer ontology, the very unspoiledness you are there to experience.” -David Foster Wallace, “Consider the Lobster” If…More

Evolution of the Tamarisk: Shoulder Straps

First: what the hell is happening with those packs, maan? A lot.  Unfortunately, almost none of that is helping to get you a pack faster.  While the pandemic hasn’t impacted our family as directly or egregiously as it could, or still might, it has made the world more complicated.  I’ve been and remain on a…More

Jefferson Lives

No two men now live, fellow-citizen, perhaps it may be doubted whether any two men have ever lived in one age, who, more than those we now commemorate, have impressed on mankind their own opinions more deeply into the opinions of others, or given a more lasting direction to the current of human thought… And…More

Creeks of fear

Several creeks from the golden age of my explorations in Glacier and the Bob stand out for their blankness, the extent to which specifics were and remain washed out by fear.  I’ve begun revisiting some of them, haphazard fun which has self-organized into a project, to delve into how far modern boats, modern rigging, improved…More

Yaak skyline

The Yaak is a contradictory place, equal parts obscuring temperate forest and friendly eroded hills.  The few spiky places in the landscape draw your eye from miles and miles away.  Satellite photos reveal glacial history in series, scalloped ridges, whose pattern and line pull from afar, but on the ground, in a fire lookout, atop…More

The new rules for nature

There has been much discussion in the past few months about how the significant, perhaps even colossal, surge in those camping and going outside will in effect unite the insta-hipster trend of the past 5 years with the COVID-induced cabin fever and lack of options.  Those who went camping twice last year, and wouldn’t have…More

Part of the system

I’m using Andew’s post from the other week to call myself out; since returning from the Salmon to a world newly convulsed by protest and riots I have checked out and tried to go about business as usual, at least to the greatest extent possible.  Normalcy has been a fleeting ideal for some time, since…More

Deep

3 years ago at the packraft roundup Kevin Colburn blew my mind.  We had been emailing for years, about creeks and water levels, without having ever met and thus eagerly sat down to chat about packrafting.  He showed me a gorgeous photo guide to creeks in western Montana he had put together for friends, and…More