Great Falls, Montana
June 1, 2023

Dear Family & Friends:

On May 28, I pulled off the Missouri River at Craig, Montana, 30 miles from the put- in below Holter Dam.  I set up my tent right on the River. This brought back great memories of past fly fishing trips in Craig with my son, Dan, my grandsons, my friend, Jim Rollans, and his sons. It brought back so many great memories that I decided to take a zero day in Craig on May 29. On May 29, I had Starbucks coffee in the morning at the fly shop and lounged in Craig for most of the day. I did some fly fishing on the River with no luck.

I had a bacon cheeseburger at the new brewery-Craig Taphouse. This burger is the best I have ever had. Everything in the burger and fries are home grown. I had a Greek salad for dinner at the Taphouse.

A Montana Ranger visited me at my campsite and told me I was camping at the wrong location. He took a liking to me and told me I don’t need to move my tent. This reminded me of my encounter with the police at a public park on the Mississippi River in 2019.

Tomorrow, May 30, I will push off from Craig and set up my next campsite at Cascades. It will take me three days to reach Great Falls, Montana. I will portage around Great Falls and continue downstream.

The last two days, the weather has been great. This is a great relief from the constant storms I have endured in the great state of Montana. The views are astounding.

Happy Memorial Day to our Veterans and their families.

On May 30, I had my coffee at the fly shop in Craig and was on the River  at 9 am. My destination was Cascade-25 miles from Craig. I arrived around 3:30 pm. The current was really fast and the views were spectacular. I fished most of the way with my fly rod as I moved down  the River at a fast clip. On several portions of the River, the current was moving really fast, and I passed through some rapids that were exciting. On portions of the River, the current was moving at 7 mph without paddling. The sun was out for the entire trip and the skies were deep blue, with scudding clouds that did not threaten rain. All-in-all, a marvelous day.

When I arrived at my destination, my trusty chair broke down, and I had to do some repair work with duct tape. I hope to arrive in Great Falls the day after tomorrow. Dinner tonight, teriyaki, chicken, chow mein. Reservations required.

May 31. I was on the River at 8 am, bound for Ulm, 25 miles down River and 30 miles from Great Falls. The River widened significantly, resulting in a big drop in the speed of the current. Back to heavy duty paddling.

This area is really remote. My most exciting event of the day was seeing two fishing boats, moving up and down River. Yes, there is life in Montana. The land has flattened out a lot so the great views of the mountains are behind me.

I arrived at Ulm at 3 and decided to continue on to make my distance to Great Falls tomorrow shorter. I pulled off the River and set up Camp on the River at 4 pm. Great Falls is about 25 River miles from my camp. Tomorrow, I will be portaged around Great Falls to Carter Ferry. But, first, I have some resupply shopping to do in Great Falls. Here is my shopping list: new chair, new air mattress, iPhone chargers, razor, wine and new sun glasses.

Today, I woke up to discover I had set up camp on an active goat pasture. Most of the goats, and one donkey, kept their distance. However five or six brave goats came down to check me out. One or two even entered my tent when I attempted to break camp. They were very friendly and curious.

I was on the River at 7 am and arrived in Great Falls at 2 pm. For the first two hours, I paddled in steady rain. When the rain broke, I was able to make slow progress with a weak, but steady, current. For the last few hours, I was slowed by headwinds. I never saw anyone on the River or in the homes along the shore of the River.

I plan to take a zero day in Great Falls for resupply. I am staying at the Extended. Stay America Suites, right on the River. I plan to visit a couple of museums in the afternoon and be back on the River on June 3.

Great Falls