Following is a trip journal I posted to “Song of the Paddle”. At Christine’s request I’m reposting here so readers of this blog can follow along… Matthew
It’s been a long time since I’ve had a chance to post anything, but thought it high time to change that. My father has owned an Old Town Pack for a number of years, and decided last week his shoulder problems were going to make it impossible for him to use any more. Knowing that I’d love to have a solo boat to add to the fleet, we worked out a suitable trade, and yesterday we drove home with a barely used Pack strapped to the top of the car. Along the way home we stopped at Salmon Lake, the southern-most lake in our own “Lake District” here in western Montana.
Ready to roll… I’m glad I read the reviews of the Pack (and listened to my dad’s advice…), the first few moments in it make you wonder if you will go for a swim, then it seems perfectly normal. After about a half hour I felt like I could lounge about and at one point even stood up to get a better view… but she’s a lively little thing!
The Pack isn’t the first boat my father bought then, sent our way. Christine paddled her Perception Sparky. It’s essentially a decked version of the Pack. Dad bought it to use at his favorite fishing pond, but the first time he used it, he got stuck inside and had to be helped out by his companions. Like me, my dad is a big guy and the Sparky is a small boat. It shortly afterward made its way to our house… as you can see Christine is tiny and the perfect size for it. No danger of getting stuck.
We headed across the north end of the lake and entered the Clearwater river. The stream was very shallow and the two little boats skimmed along like leaves on the water.
A Pack’s eye view…
A place of quiet comtemplation… we saw eagles, deer, a heron, and many belted kingfishers as we made our way upstream.
Christine leads the way.
…and I follow behind, trying out my double paddle.
I gave the single blade a try, kneeling. I’m torn… they’re both good. Not nearly as fast as the double blade, but a wonderful feel.
Heading acoss a wider section of the river.
The stream flows on and on. The Clearwater takes a meandering route through this section of the valley, and around every bend is a new side channel to explore.
The two wee boats. As I guessed, they are the perfect vehicles to take one deep into secluded spots that would be too small to get our 18.5 foot cruising canoe into. They made an afternoon on a lazy river feel like a grand adventure…
…”the smaller the boat the greater the sport”