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Two in One Boat: A Photo and Video Essay from Montana's Jefferson River

Father and son float trip in the lowlands. Experience Ryan Jordan's wild ride through skeeters and heat exhaustion, including running low on key supplies. Or... not.

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by Ryan Jordan | 2009-08-04 00:15:00-06

 

High Water Philosophy Class

In June 2009, my son Chase and I embarked on our first outing with our new Boy Scout troop: a float of the Jefferson River during high water season. Our entire gear list seemed centered around our boat selection: the Alpacka Double Duck, a sort-of-two-person packraft that weighs only six pounds.

However, once we hit the water, our gear became less of a concern, and we relished in the joy of floating such a big river (6000 cfs) in such a tiny boat.

The experience is hard to convey with media, but impossible without, so I hope you enjoy the photos and video and that they will inspire you to consider what going light might mean for you outside the realm of trail corridors (be sure to check out the related gear list, too!).


Two in One Boat: A Photo and Video Essay from Montanas Jefferson River - 1
Getting ready to launch at Limespur, me (Ryan) and my son (Chase) wondered if the enthusiasm would wane after long days in a very small boat.

Two in One Boat: A Photo and Video Essay from Montanas Jefferson River - 2
OK, so I'm not exactly Captain William Clark, but I have one thing he didn't - the Sawyer Packraft Paddle (28 oz).

Two in One Boat: A Photo and Video Essay from Montanas Jefferson River - 3
Big river, little boat.

Two in One Boat: A Photo and Video Essay from Montanas Jefferson River - 4
Paddling in tandem as we ferry across the current. Tandem paddling in the Alpacka Double Duck, we were able to achieve speeds (with help from the current) of up to nine miles an hour (as measured by a GPS).

Two in One Boat: A Photo and Video Essay from Montanas Jefferson River - 5
We paddled with the "raft flotilla." The canoeists, being faster, floated in their own group.

Two in One Boat: A Photo and Video Essay from Montanas Jefferson River - 6
Our Mountain Laurel Designs SuperMid (22 oz) seemed a lonely outcast among more conventional tents.

Two in One Boat: A Photo and Video Essay from Montanas Jefferson River - 7
Mosquitoes!

Two in One Boat: A Photo and Video Essay from Montanas Jefferson River - 8
It's not often I paddle wearing a headnet, but we sure appreciated them in June on the Jefferson. In fact, I turned down at least one offer for $50 in exchange for my stellar skeeter protection.

Two in One Boat: A Photo and Video Essay from Montanas Jefferson River - 9
Mutiny on the HMS Double Duck?

Two in One Boat: A Photo and Video Essay from Montanas Jefferson River - 10
The Alpacka Ultralight Paddle is perfect for kids (and calmwater adult paddlers) at only 23 oz.

Two in One Boat: A Photo and Video Essay from Montanas Jefferson River - 11
The Jefferson is lined with big cliffs and thick willows. Chase keeps his eye out for rattlesnakes, a common critter here.

Two in One Boat: A Photo and Video Essay from Montanas Jefferson River - 12
This is how you enjoy river life when you live on the dark side (non-portage-able boats that carry all the accoutrements of modern civilization)!


Citation

"Two in One Boat: A Photo and Video Essay from Montana's Jefferson River," by Ryan Jordan. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/two_in_one.html, 2009-08-04 00:15:00-06.

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Two in One Boat: A Photo and Video Essay from Montana's Jefferson River
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Two in One Boat: A Photo and Video Essay from Montana's Jefferson River on 08/04/2009 14:19:33 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Two in One Boat: A Photo and Video Essay from Montana's Jefferson River

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Two in One Boat: A Photo and Video Essay from Montana's Jefferson River on 08/04/2009 22:34:02 MDT Print View

Ryan and Chase- I always love hearing about your father/son adventures. The two of you are always an inspiration for the trips Henry and I take...and will be taking for years to come. Thanks for the new inspiration!

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Special report- Ryan's Mega Gear Collection on 08/04/2009 22:36:29 MDT Print View

Ryan- I want to see a story sometime on your gear collection. I know it's spread between storage units and tractor trailer trucks so you'd probably have to do it in installations...

"This week- shelters....
#135) Custom Cuben poncho tarp no. 14,
#136) Custom Cuben poncho tarp no. 15,
#137) Custom MLD packraft mid (because of COURSE packrafting requires a special tent),
#138 2' x 1.5' custom cuben hexatarp (lightest hexatarp of all time- .0632 oz),
#139 custom Pertex Falanofabric bivy (never released to the public),
#140 custom 47 person spinnaker poncho bivy,
#141 Eureka Zeus 4 (yeah- sorry about that),
etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc....

I can only imagine...

That said, please let me know when you have a garage sale. Or a Tractor Trailer Truck sale, for that matter. I think I still have a little more space in my garage...

Edited by djohnson on 08/04/2009 22:38:19 MDT.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Best BPL video of all time on 08/04/2009 23:22:10 MDT Print View

My wife and I just got done watching that video for the third time. Marvelous! The music is perfect and the comments toward the end are brilliant. So funny! Thanks for the great laugh and again, for a vision of how darn fun this will be to do with my son someday.

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Re: Two in One Boat: A Photo and Video Essay from Montana's Jefferson River on 08/05/2009 05:48:16 MDT Print View

great article/video. Thanks for sharing!!

Carol Crooker
(cmcrooker) - MLife

Locale: Desert Southwest, USA
Master and Commander on 08/05/2009 07:20:43 MDT Print View

Chase - it's lucky you were along to keep your Dad in line. Maybe next time you can "encourage" him to do more of the paddling work instead of leaving most of it to you.

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Two in One Boat: A Photo and Video Essay from Montana's Jefferson River on 08/05/2009 19:01:46 MDT Print View

Ryan,
Very nice job. Good to see parent/child trips like this on BPL...if that's not what it's all about, it's pretty close. Sorry to hear about the food, water, & whiskey.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Two in One Boat: A Photo and Video Essay from Montana's Jefferson River on 08/07/2009 20:08:46 MDT Print View

Perfect! What a fantastic kid you've got.

Enjoyed the video. Hard work. Mutiny threats.

Really liked the donuts

(belief in alternate realities that result in unusual happiness)