Through our boss's generosity and maybe a little vicarious living through us, Pat and I finally got a couple days off which happened to coincide with Bradford's time off. The levels were low for many known runs, but prime to head off into the unknown. We packed our gear up for a big three day hike in, hike out in the heart of grizzly bear country and headed up the Boulder drainage south of Big Timber as far as the road would let Pat's truck with severely bald tires make it. From there, we began hiking. Up Sheep Creek trail 3.5 miles to the top of a remote mountain pass in the heart of the Absaroka Mountains. We then hiked down the Middle Fork of Hellroaring Creek 6.5 miles to the confluence with the main Hellroaring where we were relieved to meet a horse packing camp who was wonderful enough to warm us up and feed us sandwiches and coffee.
We collapsed once we finally made camp as dark hit, and crashed as anyone would after carrying a kayak with camping gear 10 miles over a mountain pass.
The next morning, we began floating down a meandering mellow stream with great apprehension as to what we may encounter. Our highest expectations were blown away.
Three incredible and unique gorges each containing Class IV and V drops packed our day with some of the best quality boating the three of us had quite possibly every done.
The first was kind of short at around 1/2 to 1 mile in length, but oh so sweet; containing, a vertical walled section witha fifteen footer and a ten footerin close, but easily manageable succession among other quality drops.
The second gorge was the longest at around 1.5 to 2 miles long and had a very boxed in feel yet still had sufficient eddies and places to scout or possibly portage anywhere among the Class IV and V drops
we felt one might desire. The best part about this run being that we portaged a total of ZERO times!!! The third gorge was the shortest, containing two longer, complex boulder maze rapids that ended near the boundary of Yellowstone National Park where we took out.Stay safe out there and call us if anyone wants to go next year, We ALL plan on making the trip again. It was that good!!
From there, we celebrated our amazing two days with Bumble Bars and hiked half way to the pickup spot where our oh so envious boss was to meet us the next day at 10 AM. After an adrenaline rebuilding night of sleep, we hiked the last (and most arduous) 2 miles to the Hellroaring Creek Trailhead to rendezvous with our shuttle bunny. After taking the Group Photo,
and signing the trail logbook as the YLA, we took off back out of Yellowstone and onto the next adventure. Enjoy the photos courtesy of Pat Rogers.