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The Trip Home

With things wrapped up for our summer trip, it was time to point the van east and make our way back to NC to catch up on work and get some rest. Here's Andria's report on our drive home in early August.

Surfing and Sights
Every summer paddling road trip is full of ups and downs, insights, logistics, difficulties, and fun. I love these trips not only for the paddling, but for what I learn about the world, other people, and myself. Every summer road trip also comes to an end for most, and Leland and I started to feel the magnetic pull East for upcoming Gauley River releases that will begin in September. We left the Hood River, Oregon area at the beginning of August feeling satisfied. We decided to dust off the playboats and get a run on class III Alberton Gorge on the Clarks Fork River in Montana on the way. We arrived on a hot sunny day--a welcome reprieve from the cool and cloudy Pacific Northwest weather. I was so inspired by the wonderful heat and warm water that I decided to go for a surf barebacking it:

Andria surfing and smiling enjoying a warm friendly surf on Alberton Gorge.

Here is AW's Kevin Colburn making Triple Bridges wave look easy.

Kevin makes every interaction with the river look easy, actually. Kevin is one of the most hard working and river passionate people that I know. He is also well-educated and spoken and we are very lucky to have him out in the field fighting hard for river conservation and access. Plus his presence on the river is calm, encouraging, and confident, making him one of my favorite people to paddle with.

Alberton Gorge is a beautiful run right by I-90 (but you can't tell) in Western Montana near Missoula. It runs into late summer, has excellent surf waves, is class III, and it has warm water, so its good for beginners as well as advanced boaters.

Kevin and Andria at the epically fun surf wave, "Fang."

Leland surfing clean at "Fang."

Leaving the Missoula area the next day, we went for a drive through Yellowstone National Park in northwestern Wyoming. It being early August we were accompanied by thousands of other gapers, making the chances of seeing wildlife extremely low. Besides gapers, we saw mostly Bison, and despite the many warnings about not approacing the Bison because they can become aggressive, there were people going up to them with their children. Natural selection in action. Our Shepherd, Hudson, had the most fun in Yellowstone barking at the Bison through the van window.

Lone Bison in Yellowsone.

Yellowstone is actually a huge active caldera. Its a very geologically interesting area and it was the United States' first national park designation.

After Yellowstone, we did some off roading in Wyoming. We camped in this beautiful spot:

Andria doing some yoga and Hudson chewing on animal remains somewhere in Wyoming.

EDITOR'S NOTE: After Wyoming, we went to Gore Canyon in Colorado. Due to the fact that we put on late and it was dark, cloudy, and thundering (AS USUAL), we didn't get any pictures of Gore. Here's a view of the clouds hanging over the canyon the next morning, as they pretty much always do:

Click to see the next part - Big South Fork of the Poudre!