Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Snowmelt makes me dream rivers

Scoured by warm wind and rain the winters snows are melting fast in the mountains around Spokane. In the St. Joe to the east the roads are nothing but mud. In the Selkirks to the north the transition to rain was slow and the highest elevation sit covered in classic snowy cement. Well, this week the snowpack will begin to fill the rivers and streams with meltwater, the sun will come out, and waterways will come alive. There is definitely still snow to ski but I find my mind dreaming up adventures in warmer wild places. Choppy deep green lakes and azure wave trains are just around the seasonal corner – I can feel it.

We'll take a journey similar to that of each water molecule. Leaving the tops of the mountains for the river filled bottom lands and ending up lazyly floating around a lake, blocked by any downstream progress by dams like Albeni and Post Falls. Of course we're lucky enough to be able to easily hop around dams and over entire mountain ranges, clearly our mobility is enough to make any H2O jealous.

The historic and varied waterways that weave through this collection of inland NW ranges are now the top of the map pile. The Pend Oreille and the Coeur 'd Alene are massive drainages that sit east and northeast of Spokane and the sheer amount of water out there beckons summer exploration. Our early spring recon has begun though the drastic dreary weather has kept us scoping rivers from the shore and planning routes the old fashioned way: using maps gleaned from small town bookstores.

The most local rivers are just a start with the most beckoning terrain being further east in Montana. The Yellowstone and the Missouri traverse nearly the entirety of the state, and the sheer density of smaller navigable streams is incomparable to the drier regions we've been exploring for the past years. All in all the canoe is hoping to get a lot of use this summer.

So get on the phone, give a call, and let's plan a trip onto these wild rivers.