Wildfires & Portages: Your Typical August Float

IMG_3671Q: What happens when you get together three stand-up paddleboarders (including two beginners), one duckier, and one packrafter with a leaky craft for a post-work float through Missoula on the Clark Fork river in mid-August?

A: Wildfire smoke blanketing the valley. Record-low flows. Portages. Creative boat-sharing situations. A loooong slow float. It looks a little something like this:

Ducky & packraft

When the duct tape seal on the packraft fails, pile into the single ducky. You go faster with two paddlers anyway. (Weight limit: questionable.)

Dragging boats

Our friend swore he just floated this last week and paddled the whole way. Riiiiight. We look like river refugees.


Okay, we paddled a LITTLE bit.

SUP sunset

The upside: wildfire smoke makes for stunning sunsets.

The moral of the story? Pick shorter post-work floats on deeper rivers. Or just wait for spring at this point.

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