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This Videocast is made freely available to the public as a result of the generous support of Big Agnes, makers of award-winning sleeping bags, pads and tents, offering innovative lightweight solutions for backpacking. Named after a peak in The Mt Zirkel Wilderness, Big Agnes is a small company located in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Spend a night with Big Agnes and you’ll never want to sleep inside again. Visit us at

In May 2008, we managed to finagle a few hooky days from the Backpacking Light (indoor) office to explore one of Backpacking Light’s (outdoor) offices: the Bear Trap Canyon Wilderness near Bozeman, Montana.

In addition to being a premiere backcountry destination, the Bear Trap offers a number of neat hazards: howling winds, rattlesnakes, poison ivy, bears, and – what we were most interested in – whitewater.

So, we added packrafts, paddles, throw ropes, helmets, and PFD’s to our kit and set out on one of those gloriously simple overnight trips to do simple things: walk and paddle. Little did we know that we’d also swim, freeze, and itch.

This is a two part story. This first part – a video podcast, or “videocast” – presents the highlights of our trek from Ryan’s point of view. The second part, a “Notes from the Field” article, will explore the trip in more detail with narrative from Bill’s point of view, plus gear notes and lots of photos.

– Ryan and Bill

Accompanying article by Bill Stadwiser can be found here.