With about 6 weeks to go before my planned departure on the Madison River in Montana, there are so many question marks around weather conditions, river levels, availability of facilities along the river, and other important factors that will affect the outcome of my expedition. As I have absolutely no control over any of that, I can only focus my attention elsewhere: my preparation for the trip.
I have almost all the gear I need for the trip. The big things have mostly been procured: tent, sleeping bag, cooking gear, hydration system, dry bags, first aid gear, communication system. I’ve been dehydrating food almost non-stop since the new year and I have over 60 meals ready to go as well as snacks like fruit and jerky. I’ve arranged drop points for shipping re-supply packages during the trip. Still working on my sleeping pad and pillow, and oh yeah, the boat.
At this point, the kayak I will be taking on the trip is not currently in my possession. Weird, yes, I know. The plan is that Shane at Timber Longboards is currently constructing a custom-made kayak for me based on the specifications and ideas we’ve discussed. He stopped by yesterday to go over some measurements and ideas. He feels confident he’ll be able to finish the boat in time for me to get some critical saddle time in to get used to how she performs on the big river. My backup plan is currently being touched up at the Alpine Shop in Kirkwood. I purchased a Current Designs Nomad from a friend last summer, a nearly 19ft touring kayak that will more than meet my needs. He’s fixing a few scratches and touching it up. I’m hoping once the temperature starts cracking 70 consistently, I’ll have that back in order to start getting in a bit more prep. For now, I am paddling my trusty 16.5ft Eddyline Nighthawk, later today I hope to get out on Creve Coeur Lake for a few miles.
I tried to get out on the lake yesterday, but the heavy rain filled the lake to flood-level and the icy wind swept up some whitecaps something fierce. I had to adjust my plans and did a little exploration along the banks of the Missouri River near St. Charles.