I'm out and back home. More snow than I expected and a lack of legs to go fast enough through it had me 7 miles behind schedule the first day, and more of the same and scouting (and not running) some big rapids on the N Fork Sun had me 20 behind by the end of day two. Lacking the time, food, and most importantly inclination to push through and finish on that 4+ day schedule, I paddled out Gibson yesterday morning.
Quite the contrast to last years low snow and low water. I wore snowshoes for close to 10 miles straight going over Badger Pass. Strawberry Creek where most crossed it last year was absolutely not doable on foot. Sun River pass, which had maybe 9 linear feet of snow last year, had perhaps 3/4 of a mile all told this year.
Even truncated, this was a great route. Most of the first day was all new to me, and made for enjoyable walking and snowshoeing. The North Fork of the Sun between Wrong Creek and Headquarters Creek might be my new favorite stretch of floating in the Bob. Going over Sun River pass I saw a big bachelor herd elk who already had impressive antlers in full velvet. The whole Sun River valley was greener than I've ever seen it, with flowers everywhere.
It'd be easy to say that I should have been more realistic, packed a bit more food, and given myself a bit more time. Dealing with fairly challenging and potentially hazardous conditions on a tight schedule was not enjoyable. Then again, I only learn best by doing. As my own inclinations change 30+ mpd and the suffering which goes with it is less and less compelling. I've been there and done it, and have no need to reprove that I can still do it. I'm not sure what and where the future of the BMWO will be, but I imagine it will involve some way of de-emphasizing the more severe athletic aspects while still encouraging folks to get out in challenging conditions.