The trail to Camas was passable by mountain bike to the talus field before the Camas creek crossing. With a few steep sections and good lines through low stones, it was a challenging uphill after a couple miles of easy ground. From there the hikeabike to the creek was worse than above on the switchbacks. Biking again for the the short distance to Camas Lake. We were snarled in a backcast lake-side but managed to get to the water for a view across it to Camas Peak high above to the southwest. With a nice reflection offered by the lake in its stillness, we back-tracked to the Kidney Lake trail and browsed our way up to the lake through the huckleberry fields. The trail was hiking only and weaved a bit before ascending steeply to the lake and bench directly below the Peak. What a glorious basin with larch and rocks and soft places of forest of Whitebark and fir. The island is accessible at this water level and the fish were jumping for dragonflies they were so big! We headed back and found the biking was good to the creek with a few scooches; afterwards it was walking to before the first talus field. Biking the remainder of the trail was a reminder of ski season as cruising down that trail on a bike was as fast as skis and almost as fun. What a great drainage we have so close to home with such a varied lot of opportunities during all seasons.
I had the great fortune of getting out for a four night self support kayak trip on the Selway River last month. Running the river with veteran families of paddlers, we had a great time running whitewater, catching fish, swapping tales, swimming, cliff jumping and deep water bouldering. Some of the most fun I have bouldering is on a river where picking a new line over deep water often ends with a splash, either accidental or after topping out at thirty feet or so and making a launch into a deepwater pool. With the river running below a foot we had little to worry about in terms of competition as the river is best suited for rafts above a foot and a half. We took one layover day with some short hikes where we spotted three rattlers between the group. None threatened and therefore never made it to the grill. We did have good luck with the fishing and kept a few, roasting them over the open fire on a cedar bark plank, infusing them with the best taste imaginable. With many rapids unrecognizable at low flows shooting the boulder gardens was a technical paddlers dream with slots, short drops, and small play waves abounding amongst the large boulders that block the wild river’s channel at times. We are so lucky to have such a pristine 45 mile stretch of wilderness river in our backyard. With other beautiful rivers like the North Fork of the Clearwater and the South Fork of the Flathead buried beneath reservoirs or followed closely by a road for most of its mileage, floating the Selway is a good reminder of how all the wilds of Montana and Idaho once looked. I am looking forward to getting back on the Selway for another spring run next year. Hopefully we get the nice high pressure at the end of April beginning of May. Until then I will probably only get out paddling the Gorge occasionally and maybe make one trip for paddling as well somewhere. It sure would be good to get a group together for the lower Snake or Salmon, fall is the time to hit those trips. Warm, big water and fun camping.