Yellowstone River Packrafting
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Feb 5, 2013 at 5:56 pm #1298893Stephanie JordanSpectator
@maiaLocale: Rocky Mountains
Companion forum thread to:Feb 6, 2013 at 7:06 am #1951303Buck NelsonBPL Member
Very nice story and photos. That's cool that you did the upper reaches like that.
Last summer I paddled the Yellowstone in a canoe from the Park to the Missouri. Two of us ran Yankee Jim in a conventional raft, a stretch not to be taken lightly!
It's a beautiful river. Thanks for the article and congratulations on an epic trip.Feb 6, 2013 at 7:36 am #1951308
Thanks for the article, Ryan. I'm doing a 110 mile stretch of the Little Missouri (praying for a rainy season) this summer coupled with the entire Maah Daah Hey trail, and I'm concerned with the oil drilling in the area. I'm hoping I get to see the badlands before any oil boom really destroys the area.Feb 6, 2013 at 7:49 am #1951313diego deanBPL Member
I used to be a flight instructor out of Bozeman and I would sometimes follow this river by air with my students. Some gorgeous scenery that is still probably the highlight of my flying career. I miss Montana, but yes, even while I lived there the trophy houses were going up-everywhere. I only wish I could have afforded and had the time to do more of these activities while I actually lived in the area.Feb 6, 2013 at 9:25 am #1951347Richard LyonBPL Member
@richardglyonLocale: Bridger Mountains
Anyone wishing to learn to packraft ought to consider the BPL course. Great fun as well as informative, and the river really is as beautiful as Ryan's photos indicate. When I took the course with Andrew Sturka we ran from the Park boundary in Gardiner through Yankee Jim Canyon twice, almost got arrested, and had a generally wonderful time.Feb 6, 2013 at 9:27 am #1951349
"almost got arrested"
It ain't a good adventure without almost getting arrested!Feb 6, 2013 at 10:25 am #1951379Feb 6, 2013 at 10:59 am #1951394David ChenaultBPL Member
@davecLocale: Queen City, MT
Anyone out there have any solid info on why boats are banned on rivers in Yellowstone? My assumption is that when the rule was made back in the ~50s fishermen didn't want driftboats, and the whitewater/packraft ban is merely bycatch.
I have no problem blaming the anthropocentric egomaniacs who build such awful houses. If you can't understand and care about how long the world will continue after you no derision is undeserved.
Thank goodness we have the stream-access laws we do in this state. I pity the Coloradians.Feb 6, 2013 at 11:04 am #1951396Richard NisleyBPL Member
@richard295Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
I was in that area with my packraft and talked to the ranger 2 years ago. He said, "We don't have the budget to provide litter clean-up and rescues on the river. That is why we only allow boating in designated areas."Feb 6, 2013 at 11:08 am #1951398Tad EnglundBPL Member
@bestbuilderLocale: Pacific Northwest
Richard, you hit the nail on the head.Feb 6, 2013 at 11:36 am #1951408Tim DrescherBPL Member
@timdcyLocale: Gore Range
"Why is Backpacking Light / Ryan Jordan focusing on pack rafting so much lately? I for one would like to see more reviews around backpacking not packrafting. Aside from that its a good article and nice pics."
+1Feb 6, 2013 at 11:45 am #1951409
My guess is that there is already a saturation of backpacking information/trip reports/gear, and packrafting is a subcategory that is growing.
I'm not saying there's an OVERsaturation of material, or that there isn't anything left to write about with backpacking. Packrafting is just a less-explored frontier.Feb 6, 2013 at 12:01 pm #1951419Sam HaraldsonBPL Member
@sharaldsLocale: Gallatin Range
You may have missed the middle quarter or so of the article in which Ryan speaks of backpacking across the entirety of Yellowstone National Park. ; )Feb 6, 2013 at 1:33 pm #1951452David ChenaultBPL Member
@davecLocale: Queen City, MT
"We don't have the budget to provide litter clean-up and rescues on the river. That is why we only allow boating in designated areas."
I have no doubt that's a current justification, but doubt it was the original reason. Not that there isn't a lot to be said for keeping people from tubing over various waterfalls.
If the "designated areas" interpretation is that rigid, maybe we'll see the upper Yellowstone, Lamar, Snake, Heart, and Bechler opened up. (Effectively to packrafting only.)
Complaining about a backpacking mag covering packrafting is like complaining about a cooking mag covering bacon or ice cream. The awesomeness is self-evident.Feb 6, 2013 at 2:01 pm #1951459
BPL's Mission Statement since '07 is "To promote multi-day, backcountry travel in a self-supported ("backpackable"), lightweight style."
Occasionally we'll pop out of this mission and perhaps drop one of the three components of the mission statement to explore an ancillary activity. We generally won't touch "lightweight" though. That's sort of a core premise.
It would be fun to do explore things like motorcycle camping, ocean rowing, dogsledding, and I'm not opposed to bacon at all.Feb 6, 2013 at 3:02 pm #1951479Feb 6, 2013 at 3:30 pm #1951497Richard LyonBPL Member
@richardglyonLocale: Bridger Mountains
"If the "designated areas" interpretation is that rigid, maybe we'll see the upper Yellowstone, Lamar, Snake, Heart, and Bechler opened up. (Effectively to packrafting only.)"
Except maybe Heart Lake, I doubt it. NPS is really on a straitened budget, not likely to get any larger any time soon. And as you know the Park is full of folks with no notion of proper behavior even in the tourist areas. ("Son, get a little closer to the bison so I can get you both in the picture.") Imagine them on the water. However the NPS might make an exception if a person demonstrated, in advance, packrafting knowledge and skill and a plan for a particular route. I know a couple of guys who work in Yellowstone and I'll explore it with them.
"Complaining about a backpacking mag covering packrafting is like complaining about a cooking mag covering bacon or ice cream. The awesomeness is self-evident."
If its flavor isn't improved by bacon you shouldn't be eating it.Feb 6, 2013 at 5:44 pm #1951553Ryan SmithBPL Member
@violentgreenLocale: East TN
I really enjoyed the article. Most of the areas you trek through I can only read about and salivate over from 2,000 miles away. Packrafting is a natural extension of BPL's core focus IMO, and I would love to see more of the technical aspects & how-to's in the future(or is there already an article somewhere?). Tennessee is NOT a hotbed of packrafting activity so I'm out of the loop.
All these Montana pics remind me of that old Steinbeck quote – "For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection. But with Montana it is love."
RyanFeb 6, 2013 at 5:49 pm #1951555
"Seems odd that all this coincides while Ryan trying to get his Kickstarter going. Just saying."
Really? I thought that would be a strategic and intentional thing to do, rather than an odd and suspect coincidence :)
Noted on your feedback and desire for more reviews*. The Kickstarter campaign only lasts a month, and the Yellowstone essay published today was the first article we've had on packrafting since the Alpacka Stowaway Dry Suit Review on December 18.
* We always have reviews in the queue, not to worry. Examples: Next big one is an SOTM on backcountry satellite communications devices.Feb 6, 2013 at 5:49 pm #1951556
It would be great if you wrote a tutorial on how to find good packrafting routes that had a good mix of backpacking and rafting. Maybe some good tips and resources.
Unless, of course, 'use Google Earth' would be your answer.Feb 6, 2013 at 10:18 pm #1951661Feb 7, 2013 at 6:38 am #1951717
JoshP: no sweat – drop me a note via the BPL contact form. – RJFeb 7, 2013 at 7:17 pm #1952007Nick GatelBPL Member
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
"Why is Backpacking Light / Ryan Jordan focusing on pack rafting so much lately? I for one would like to see more reviews around backpacking not packrafting."
A few years ago I had the same mindset. But I have changed my mind, and if you spend any time in Chaff, you know that you have a better chance of getting the sun to set in the east than changing my mind.
I think I might ask my wife to buy me a packraft for my birthday.
I am also now more interested in articles on other outdoor activities here on BPL. Many people like Ryan have a wide range of interests and it is enjoyable to read about them. My outdoor life also spans areas beyond backpacking. Besides, one can shove a packraft in their pack :)
Here is an interesting link Dave C posted on his blog. Really cool trip with some creative planning. Maybe I need to learn how to speak Spanish and try it.
As for Ryan's article. Too little information. He is trying to whet our appetite and tease us into purchasing his packrafting options :)Feb 7, 2013 at 8:13 pm #1952045
Alpackas are the McHales of packrafts. Ooooo, now they sound REALLY tempting! :)
They're a blast!Feb 7, 2013 at 8:25 pm #1952054
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