Sunday, May 25, 2008

Two Medicine South Fork

Well, it was quite a day for an exploratory run! High water exploratory runs may not always be the best pick for season warm ups.

The hike into the two medicine is about 3km. There were lots of fresh grizzily tracks around. We scared one the was just around the corner from where we unloaded.

The rain was fairly steady all day. However there were a number of semi-open breaks. The river starts off fairly gentle for about 4 or 5 km.

The first major rapid was a dangerous corner into a very long canyon. It was a muncher, with a nasty eddy.

river side view of the first corner muncher

We hiked up on river right to scout and then portage.

rapids just below the corner muncher that starts the canyon.

There was an impassable feeder creek on this side of the river. Clay and I looked at a 30 foot watertfall to launch back into the river, but opted instead for put in higher up and run the rapid above it. (Janson has a picture of this section).

We continued down the river with a bit of trepedation. The flows were constantly rising while our early season stamina was quickly draining. Both Clay and Chris got flipped on a ledge that followed a big hole. With so many dangerous corners, scouting each was problematic. Making the must make ferries and sneak lines was a challenge in the pushy water. The holes were large and violent, but may have may been pushing through. We decided to call it a day and hike out to the road. Dragging our boats up the first ridgeline was quite hard on our calves.

Once we reached the ridge crest, it looked like it was an easy return back to the calmer tail of the river. Instead of bashing through the trees to the road, we decided it would be quicker to rejoin the river and head back to the take out vehicle.

The scenery was truly spectacular. It felt like Scotland with all the colors.

On the lower section we had lots of big rollercoaster waves- which we avoided. There was one big set of rapids - class III+ we plowed through, and Clay had a close call with a swim, getting his role on his 7th go.

All in all, we were happy to see the bridge. The river had risen 2 feet since our put in.

Overview- I would say the Two Medicine would be good when the Middle Fork of the Flathead is around 10,000. The canyon section is fairly committing and long. There is likely to be lots of river wide ledges. I would guess a number of class III to IV drops and a river grade close to that. At these flows it was definitely a step or two up from that.


Marko Polo said...

glad you guys survived with only mini-epic stories! I was praying for you so you can thank me later. Personally, I helped my parents move (epic as well) and did some reading.

Love to see the rest of the pics.

Anonymous said...

Chris & crew,

Sounds like quite an adventure. Perhaps the river will be much friendlier with less water - we'll be glad to learn about the return expedition.


chris g said...

Stew, I think you would love looking at that canyon. Interesting geology - lots of pine trees down at river level, pristine country, lots of gravel bars on the corners with healthy vegetation.

The river seemed reminiscent of the Highwood, but with a much more substantial canyon. Lots of bears, elk and open country with quite unique flora.

We could hear the boulders rolling underneath us whenever we got to squirly water. Hard on the nerves - normally the only marbles rolling around are the lose ones in my head.