APRIL 17 SUN DAY 8 ON THE RIVER –What another great day on the Yellowstone. It was very cold last night, but I didn’t notice it with this sleeping bag and blanket insert I have in it. Everything froze, including the towel I have wet in the ice chest covering everything. I had water bottles that froze solid. Once the sun came up, which was a little later because of a cloud bank on the eastern horizon and got packed up, quick bowl of hot oatmeal, cup of tea and my Greens 123.
A quick paragraph on the animals, birds and water fowl. The geese this morning evidently forgot about the line in the river, because when I woke up it sounded like they were all at a football game. In between all of their squawking, I heard coyotes, pheasant, wild turkeys, Bald Eagles talking, Mallard ducks, song birds and a squirrel that I spotted up in one of the bigger trees. Also, a beaver that swatted his tail all night long because I had pulled in and tied up right next to his house, he was not happy with me.
The beaver are prolific and have been so since putting on the water. Every 3 or 4 miles there is a pair of Bald Eagles nesting and it is easy to pick out their nests, for the trees have yet to leaf here and they are the largest nests in any tree. There are rookeries of cranes every so often. There are pairs of Whooping Cranes every so often. There are lots of deer, both White Tail and Mule deer. I have seen no elk, but did see some sign that day I had to walk back and get the stuff I left on the bank. I expect to not see any.
I am surprised I haven’t seen at least one coyote, no river otter or other type animals such as mink, musk rat or fox.
There were a lot of guys fishing for cat fish today, being Sunday and getting further down the river I am sure is one of the reasons, plus the weather is descent. Speaking of weather it looks like it is going to get sunny and warm up again in a few days.
There are a total of 5 Diversion Dams on this stretch of the river, below Billings and down to Forsyth. The Huntley Dam, the one I just got to go around River Left and you can on the Huntley Dam. There is one coming up just below where the Big Fork River comes in; I have been told the guys run their boats up and down that one so I should be able to go thru it. The one at Hysham I am told I will have to portage. The one in the town of Forsyth I will also have to portage, so we will get that all accomplished in the next 3 or 4 days and then it should be clear paddling on the Miles City, then to Glendive then on to the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri. I don’t think the Yellowstone is going to take any longer than 20 days plus or minus.
APRIL 18TH MON DAY 9 ON THE RIVER – Another good day on the river, in spite of it raining all night and raining most of the day and up until about noon the wind blew up river quite strongly. I am not a strong paddler, but I am a consistent paddler, I call it “feather paddling” gentle strokes without exerting a lot of energy and I find I go just as far. It also leaves a lot of energy in reserve when it is needed and that is often throughout the day.
I stopped at Custer, a little town I have driven by numerous times and actually spent a night there on one of my trips to or from North Dakota. Went into the little Casino where the side of the building said “great hamburgers” and the sign was true to its meaning. Had a hot cup of tea, plugged my phone in and let it charge about half. Also bought next door at the little gas station a gallon of water, some pastries, a bag of ice and a couple of pastries.
About 2 I finally passed where the Big Fork River comes into the Yellowstone and about 2 miles down further was the 3rd of 5 Diversion Dams I one has to contend with. This one had a bypass river right, where I had to push/line the kayak thru a small area, no big deal. Once again I think the next two have to be portaged, we shall see. I should be at the 4th one tomorrow afternoon and the 5th one that is at Forsyth the next day. I hope to spend a day or so in Forsyth working on my website, send out the 2nd Journal and getting the rudder worked on. I also would like to find some place to take a shower and change clothes so I can start out the 2nd half of the Yellowstone squared away.
It is still raining, it is about 6 found a great spot up off the river, no more camping in the sand, took me ½ an hour to clean the tent up. Built a nice big fire, got a few things dry, everything is damp, gloves/ect are wet but got them close to dry. From what I could tell from looking at the local newspaper at the casino, Wens it is supposed to start turning nice again, in the 70’s so everything will dry out.
It will be nice to get some sunshine again and get things dried out; it has been going on 4/5 days.
0-63500APRIL 19 TUES/20 WENS/21 THUR/22 FRI - DAY 10/11/12/13 ON THE RIVER – I am going to run these 4 days together. My new battery on the laptop didn’t last as long as I would like it to. Every day is kind of running together, which is to be expected on a trip like this. I am anxious to always get around the next bend, but find that what is around the next bend is what was around the last bend.
The wild life has continued to be a combination of deer, pheasant, and wild turkeys, the geese by the hundreds, mallard ducks, and beaver and of course the Bald Eagles are everywhere. I have not seen one single Osprey. That is not to say they are not on the Yellowstone, I have just not seen any.
The last of the 5 Diversion Dams was one that I had to portage. As I was approaching the boat ramp just 100 yards up from the dam, a guy across the river started talking to me, then crossed over the bridge and showed up at the boat ramp and asked if he could help me. Unbelievable. 30 minutes later he was back with his car hauler trailer, we had my gear in the back of his truck, the kayak on the trailer and he took me up around the dam, to a camp ground, waited for me the change my clothes and brought me back to the town of Forsyth so I could get a few things and go to the library, get things charged up and get caught up. Unfortunately I had forgotten the plug in for the computer, so got a few things, called him and he gave me a ride back to the camp ground. What a great guy and what a blessing to be able to get around the last and remaining Diversion Dam on the Yellowstone River.
12382541275000I am presently in Miles City, Mt. Took about a 1 mile walk to get into town. Had a good veggie sandwich and am at the library to get things charged and get caught up on a bunch of stuff.
Already texted all of the kids and Debbie. Will talk to Cam later on this afternoon or this evening. Also have another conversation with the writer for the article in the Outlaw Magazine this afternoon.
I was very tired last night, it has warmed up again. The sun and the sun on the water take a toll on me. It is supposed to be 84 degrees today, but won’t spend a lot of the day on the water, but will probably get back to the kayak at the heat of the day, but won’t go far.
I camped in the sun at the end of the day yesterday; I will not do that again in the end of the heat of the day, it will have to be in the shade. It is only a matter of time until I am dealing with very hot weather.