Canoing to Whitaker Bridge

seth take outTodd and Erin got up early for their Sentinel high school soccer and volleyball tryouts. This meant a free day with the youngest, Seth. So, what to do? Yesterday I had an inkling we might venture up the Blackfoot to canoe an old favorite section. We would not have a shuttle, but this has not stopped matters in the past. Today we implemented the standard routine of packing a couple of bicycles along with a chain and lock. All of the sections of the Blackfoot are picturesque, but this section has been a favorite for many years.bridge It is not one of the easier sections as there are plenty of rocks coupled with a few fun ripple sections as well. The Rogue, our canoe, is a wonderful river canoe with plenty of rocker. Good for the Blackfoot. The weather cooperated quite well after a stormy past number of days. There were quite a few folks camping in the upper section along with three or four other boats, rafts, tubers, etcetera on the section as well. Nice to see. There usually are not many tubers on this section as they seem to prefer the more mellow Johnsrud to Wisherd section – aka party central.

This was Mr. Seth’s first canoe trip on the Blackfoot, having spent his canoe ventures principally on the Bitterroot. Fortunately the wind was not too bad today in some of the slower sections. Of course, this float does not have too many slower sections. There was a couple on the bank where the tubers took out who were walking their Border Collie. Above the dog two large brown raptors were circling which I could not quite make out. Maybe eagles, but for some reason they looked like vultures? Not sure. A couple was actually riding bicycles along the old rail bed (I assume that’s what it is).seth bfoot I’ve never seen this before. Talk about an excellent corridor for a bicycle path. It would take a lot of work though as it’s washed out in sections and filled with trees in others. There was a young crew of three we played leap with a few times. They were enjoying their PBRs and chips at the take out. Seemed like nice fellows enjoying their afternoon. A couple taking out at our put in looked at me seriously (maybe inquisitively is a better word) and asked if I’d been down the section before? “Yes,” I replied thinking to myself had something changed I did not know about? This stayed with me for a while.seth bfoot chop Seth, a good swimmer, immediately got wet in the bow not too far below the put in in a favorite brief bouncer. There’s not much of an issue this time of year other than the rocks. We had to pay attention. This, of course, is a lesson for life, right? Pay attention. Things can change in a hurry. We enjoyed the float. Wen, the lab, and Seth both made the climb up the road to some cliffs where we took a short break. She is getting older and I thought she may be an issue during the shuttle back to the truck on the bikes, but it worked out ok. I pointed out old camping sites which are no longer allowed. This is disconcerting, but I guess the state needs its funds. I also pointed out in the distance places I used to ride high into the Belmont. Great bfoot Lower temps and drizzle helped during Wen’s hike. It was easy does it. It may be interesting this year during grouse season; however, who can’t use a few more breaks while in the mountains to take it all in? She behaved well in the riffles which was when it mattered. We managed one small Cutt, but that was not the gist of today’s venture. Seth got to see where his old man has spent quite a few quality days (on and of off the water) and we got to experience it together. Perfect.s & W bfoot

3 thoughts on “Canoing to Whitaker Bridge

  1. Richard Gwyn Davies

    These photos and your narrative brought to mind the canoe trips I took with Bob Meek out of Camp Kooch-i-ching in northern Minnesota. We canoed down the Bloodvein River leading into Lake Winnipeg. Your mention of the eagles struck a chord with me because there is one point along the river where we saw many of these magnificent creatures. I also liked your reference to the need to pay great attention to the river, the canoe and the precious cargo you carry. It is a great life lesson–“things can [and often do] change in a hurry!” And you need to be ready when that happens.

  2. Richard Gwyn Davies

    Please forgive this late response. I have been recuperating from a left knee replacement but am about to be released back to my apartment in the Maria [retirement] Center next door to this facility. Bob Meek is definitely ‘still winning with us.’ He is still going strong. I, too, miss Sgt. Smith–he was a good man and did a wonderful job with Culver students through the years. 10/1/14


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