Sunday, September 3, 2017

Big Fork River Canoe Trip

 Our main adventure this year was to go on a canoe trip on the Bigfork River. It was nice because we didn't have to travel very far for this adventure. Only around an 1 1/2 hours of driving time. Still with being that close to home it was fun to see the difference in the plants in that location and we got to see new and lovely scenery. I actually had been on that stretch of river before - 21 years ago - but that was at a different time of year and the water was higher so that made it different a bit too.

Our first adventure for the trip was to have a rock (we think) fly up just before we got to our starting spot and shatter the back window of our van. Though of course that wasn't ideal we still found many reasons to be thankful in that situation: 1. Nobody was hurt. 2. I am so thankful for the person who designed car windows to break in such a safe way where people and tires don't get hurt by sharp glass particles. Also even though it was completely shattered it still held together for the week (during loading up when we got back it did fall out). 3. That we had tape along. 4. That I had happened to grab what I thought was an emergency blanket and brought it along. It wasn't an emergency blanket but rather this silver tube thing but I had a pair of scissors in the van and we cut it to size and used it to cover the window. 5. Ken's parents to help us out with vehicle moving and covering up the window.

God is truly good! He knew what was going to happen even if we didn't and made sure we were prepared.
 My in-laws drove up with us (in their own car) and then moved our van to the ending spot so that it would be ready for us. We were a little concerned about security with leaving it in a parking lot for days but all was well when we got back.
 Ready to go (my Mother in law is also in the picture but she didn't actually go with us).
 Megan was my partner the first day. We rode in the Bonnie Mae - my canoe that I had with me on this river 21 years ago as well.
 Ken and Aaron were together the first day. Ken used Mara's canoe (the "Abbigail A") for the trip. It is a comfortable and sturdy canoe which also takes more work to make it go fast. Ken likes it though. In the picture above Ken's partner had gotten out on a rock.

Jonathan and Mara were in my parents' aluminum canoe which is Jonathan's favorite canoe so he stayed in that one for the trip. We rotated around to have different combinations of canoeing companions each day.
 The first night we camped at Little American Falls. It is nothing like a mountain waterfall (which my Mountain Man-Ken, who grew up around Mountains- noticed) but it is still pretty.
 There were Bottle Gentian there. A flower we don't often see around our place.
 It rained the first evening. I had brought an extra raincoat along for Megan and it was handy so Mara wore it. :-) Mara cooked steaks over the fire which turned out very good. I made instant potatoes with other dried veggies in it.
 The next morning there was a mist over the water.
 It was really pretty and I couldn't truly capture the look.
 Hot cocoa along with fried apple biscuits and eggs for breakfast.
Throughout the trip we would hit shallow water at time and end up getting stuck on a rock. The result was that generally somebody would get out of the canoe and pull us off. The above picture is showing that. :-)

  We did also get to go through little rapids here and there through out the trip. Because of the time of year the water was lower and going slower so some of the rapids simply caused us to have to slow down a lot, others did speed us up and were pretty fun to maneuver through. Various parts of the trip seemed like an obstacle course and that added a lot of interest.

 Aaron was my partner for most of the second day (He and Jonathan did trade places for a while). That was our longest day going around 24 miles.
 Megan and Mara found a mossy place in the trees to put their tent that night. This was at the Half-way campsite.
 It was next to a patch of wild ginger. We harvested some for tea.
 Ken out in the woods.
 On the third day Megan was with Ken, Mara with me and the boys together.
 Jonathan sometimes took a rather relaxed posture while paddling. Other times he liked to paddle standing up.
 We would generally all get together and hold on to each other to eat our lunch while still floating down stream. Floatilla is the long ago term that was coined for that action.
 Mara made a pasta dish for supper that night at our Johnson Landing campsite. It was pretty yummy!
 Our day of canoeing had been shorter (only 14 miles) and so we had time to get flowers for our table and enjoy the campsite a little more.
 Lovely to have all this family time!
 Family, cups of tea (that night our tea was from wild mint that Mara had collected), chocolate (a gift from a friend) and flowers - What more could you ask for?
 This campground (all of them were free to camp at along our way - what a blessing!) had a big area that seemed perfect for playing croquet or frisbee. We hadn't brought either along but a bucket lid was able to take the place of a frisbee. They played "monkey in the middle" while I washed supper dishes. I don't mind doing most of the dishes while out camping as it gives me opportunities to actually get my hands clean. I spend plenty of the day with pretty dirty feeling hands - washing dishes is nice.
 There was a lot of Sneezeweed along the banks. That is not a flower we have around here so it was fun to see. I think it is rather cute. We also saw a LOT of wild asparagus fern on the banks. I wish we could go back at asparagus season.
 Saturday it rained much of the day.
 Jonathan was very ready to get to our warm and dry home that evening. I guess we all were. However we did have a lot of fun and I am thankful for the sunshine and the rain.

I found some pictures of our trip on this same river 21 years ago. Here are a couple:
 My friend Becky and I and my canoe which we used then and I also used this year. That trip was the first time Becky or I had gone on rapids and it was quite an adventure for us. I believe Becky and I did a lot of the cooking on that trip as well (I know we did on a later one but I am not 100% sure about this one).
Some (but not all) of the canoes on that trip in 1996. It must have been lunch time and we were having a floatilla. :-)

 Have you gone on a canoe trip before? I would love to hear your stories.  Where did you go? What was it like? We are always on the lookout for new places to explore.


Anonymous said...

Hi Abbi,
I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoy reading your blog. Your
trips look like so much fun, and I have enjoyed seeing your children grow up.
Thank you again,

Nola said...

I haven't done a canoe trip with my family but I did before having kids. I'd like to do one with my family but so far we'e just done day trips for canoeing.

Abbi said...

Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving that encouraging comment!

Abbi said...

Sorry, somehow I missed your comment earlier. We generally just did day outings when our children were small as well. Though we do remember well one trip that we did take when Mara was 3 and Jonathan was one (or maybe it was 2 and not yet one - I think that was actually so) and as we neared the end of our trip Jonathan threw a toy over the side of the canoe. As Ken and I worked to fish it out Jonathan decided to jump over the other side. We were able to grab him and haul him right back in but it was a startling moment for all of us! He was wearing a life jacket too so all was fine but it was memorable!


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