Friday, July 7, 2017 - Whitefish River - 8 miles
Mid-way through our journey, we approached a curve and immediately noticed a dramatic increase in bird traffic. And then we saw the cliff wall and the birds flying to and from it. As I learned later, the Bank Swallow is usually seen in flocks, flying low over ponds and rivers with quick, fluttery wingbeats. It nests in dense colonies, in hole in dirt or sand banks. Some of these colonies are quite large, and a tall cut bank may be pockmarked with several hundred holes. Despite their small size, tiny bills and small feet, these swallows generally dig their own nesting burrows, sometimes up to five feet long.
While Man with Hat didn't hook any fish that day, we watched birds on the wing snagging dragonflies and other winged insects that flitted about the river's surface. At one point, a bald eagle flapped serenely over the river, and unseen hawks called to each other from the thick stands of trees. A deer near the river's edge lifted a dripping, shiny nose to assess our threat, and then slowly retreated to the woods.
Two pairs of kayakers each shared the waterway that day, exchanging only a nod in our direction as they glided downriver. It seemed no one wanted to break the peace of the summer day, punctuated by nothing louder than the buzz of insect wings and the twitter of the birds.
Saturday, July 8, 2017 - Middle Fork, Flathead River - 8 miles
Yes, we went kayaking two days in a row. You might as well, when you have all your gear together, but it probably had more to do with our son's work schedule accommodating another shuttle!
We put in around 11 am at Cascadilla Creek, an apparently good time for entry given that we saw very little traffic ahead of us throughout the 4-hour journey (we stopped three times for Man with Hat to fish). The take-out at Moccasin Creek at 3 pm was a different story - clearly it was a key launching time for the rafting companies - at least a dozen craft hovered creekside while loading up tourists lathered in sun cream and bug repellent!
A picturesque wilderness whitewater river offers many opportunities to the boater. Splendid views.
|This Pike Minnow was a feisty fellow
|Upper Middle: Oxeye Daisy; Lower Middle: Harebell; Lower Right: Pearly Everlasting
|Upper Right: Nodding Onion; Lower Right: St. Johnswort