On account of an outbreak of COVID on the Ft. Belknap Reservation in north-central Montana earlier this fall, Hays-Lodge Pole Excessive College has been solely on-line since late September. Consequently, I’ve been educating remotely from my house in Helena for the previous a number of weeks. Prep work, grading, employees conferences, educating – they’re all on-line! 😦 So, my after-work hikes up Mt. Helena or Mt. Ascension have been extra essential than ever – not super-exciting however VERY therapeutic. Nevertheless, my two greatest remedy classes of November passed off on the Missouri River north of Helena.
Helena’s again yard.
On the primary journey (11/1/20), a pair associates and I kayaked the 16-mile stretch from Higher Holter Lake (20 miles north of Helena) to Decrease Holter Lake close to the small city of Wolf Creek. My second go to to the river (11/22/20) was a solo out-and-back kayak journey (6 miles round-trip), with stops alongside the best way to get pleasure from a pair brief hikes. Each outings began at Higher Holter Lake 20 miles north of Helena – the identical place the place the Gates of the Mountains Boat Excursions begin and end.
Simple on the eyes.
On the longer journey with my buddies (Jim and Jerry), we began paddling at 8:30 am and completed at 3:30 pm. It was chilly as we kayaked by way of the shade of the gorgeous limestone canyon however as soon as the Solar rose excessive sufficient, our consolation degree improved considerably. This 6-mile lengthy canyon is among the most scenic stretches of the whole Missouri River, which begins 65 miles south of right here, and dumps into the Mississippi at St. Louis. So, regardless of the cool temperatures, paddling under the spectacular limestone partitions was nonetheless gratifying.
Rollin’ on the river.
As soon as by way of the canyon, there was no scarcity of daylight to heat our backs, and loads of time to benefit from the panorama. Highlights included passing by Mann Gulch and Rescue Gulch, drifting alongside reduce banks manufactured from silt deposited on the backside of historical Glacial Lake Nice Falls, and paddling under the rugged mass of rock that contains the pinnacle of the Sleeping Big – a well-known Helena landmark. We took a pair breaks alongside the best way earlier than rounding Oxbow Bend and crossing the southern fringe of Decrease Holter Lake. My son Keith was there to shuttle us house.
I began my second (solo) journey later within the morning (10:45 am) to ensure the Solar can be shining on me as I paddled by way of the canyon. Additionally, I needed to get some good drone pictures with the Solar shining on each side of the canyon. My technique labored – however don’t take my phrase for it. Have a look by way of the Photograph Tour, which incorporates images from each journeys.
Beneath: This map marks hikes which have been featured on bigskywalker.com to date, together with a number of in Glacier Park – Choose full display screen to broaden, zoom in for extra element, or click on on a marker for a hyperlink to the publish.