Smith River

Hey everyone! I’m back and I’m going to try and update this blog more frequently, sorry I have been AWOL but injuries and life got in the way.

Back in early May, Sarah and I got an invite to float the Smith River in central Montana.  This is a ~60 mile stretch of river will minimal development and requires a permit.  Permits are not always easy to get and several of us put in for the lottery to get a spot.  Armed with 5 boats and 11 people we camped at the Camp Baker launch site after (mistakenly) running our own shuttle, which comprised of over 6 hours of driving in a circle between Helena, Great Falls and White Sulfur Springs.  The next morning we drew our spot to launch right when a large rainstorm moved in forcing us to seek shelter under boats and in cars until it relented enough to begin our float.

Springs to fill up our water for the trip.

We had on and off rain for the entire first day culminating with a massive storm right when we started making dinner.  We cooked dinner quickly and built a huge fire to dry off and commenced to drink several beers.

The next morning we awoke to clearing skies and the hope that we wouldn’t get rained on.  Our luck held and we had a great, though chilly, float and chased fish in the muddy water.

With only a brief shower the next day, the rest of the trip went extremely well with my only complaint being the lack of fish, which could be attributed to my poor fishing skills and the very muddy water.

On the last night a group of us hiked up to the Smith River canyon rim to watch a nice sunset over the river. The short hike was refeshing after being boat bound for two days. This was followed by building a four story hammock stack complete with a hookah and keg beer.

Four story hammock stack

We were greeted with a nice sunrise on our last day on this magical stretch of river. Unfortunately, there is an effort to build a large copper mine in the headwaters of the Smith potentially ruining its treasured fishery and causing water quality problems, I suggest you take a look at Save Our Smith to get involved and protect this wild and scenic river.