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Rafting the Clark Fork River

Rafting the Clark Fork River

The Clark Fork is the dominant river in western Montana, curving its way through the flat-lands, mountains, hills and forests from its headwaters near the Continental Divide towards Lake Pend Oreille in the Idaho panhandle.  Named after William Clark (of Lewis and Clark fame) the river is a popular venue for recreation — rafting, floating in inner tubes, some canoeing and, of course, lots of fly fishing opportunities.  The river has good flow throughout the summer and moves at a good pace.  There are a few impressive rapids (Class III — with such ominous names as Boateater and Fang) that offer a thrilling bucking ride, but mostly the river moves along smoothly and you can lean back and enjoy the fresh clean air, beautiful mountains, canyons and wildlife.  During our trip we saw several bald eagles, osprey and deer.

A number of vendors offer rafting trips on this river.  We chose ROW Adventures, whom we’d known for a number of years and were very satisfied with the entire trip experience (I also have my eye on their trip through Hell’s Canyon on the Snake River).  We met at a rural (rented) farm in Superior and were bused upriver for the beginning of our trip down the Alberton Gorge.  The guides provided us with a fun and safe trip, served up a great lunch and entertained us with their stories and jokes.  The day was lovely, partially cloudy and partially sunny, warm and pleasant. It was a fun and memorable trip.  While mostly it’s a float, at times we all had to paddle, especially through the rapids (here it’s important not to let the current take control of your boat’s movement — you need to propel through the hazards of standing waves and eddies).  The guide does most of the work, steering and directing the raft.  About 5-6 hours and 15 miles later we pulled our rafts on shore where the guides loaded them on our bus and we were returned to Superior. It had been a good day!

I hope you enjoy the following photos which doe a better job of conveying what the trip was like than anything else I could write.

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, then right arrow to advance the slideshow)


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