Yesterday was the last day of my all too brief visit to Missoula, a place that I'm looking forward to getting back to and exploring more now that I've had a taste of it. After a nice morning of sitting on the deck and walking in the park, I was excited for my first attempt at stand up paddleboarding. Sara gave me a brief crash course as we drove down the Blackfoot River to the put in area, where she suited me up and put me on their most indestructible board.
The river was a pleasant temperature, with many large trout swimming over the brightly colored rocks below. I'm told the most difficult section of river we travelled consisted of class 3 rapids. What exactly that means I'm not sure, aside from being the place where I took a hilarious spill and felt like I was being put through a washing machine for the next minute or so. It was one of the most fun experiences I've ever had though, and I completely understand how people get so addicted. Even today when I was driving, I suddenly found myself gazing as excitedly at the rivers below me as at the rocks above me. Not that I'm looking for a new activity to obsess over, but this is definitely something that will have to happen again.
This morning I got an earlyish start and continued west to Leavenworth, Washington. The little bit of Idaho that I crossed seemed pretty similar to Montana, but the eastern part of Washington wasn't at all what I expected. Thinking I was going to be instantly immersed into redwood forests, I instead kept finding myself thinking that I was in Kansas, at least until the mountains started to pop up again.
Driving through the town of Leavenworth and heading up Icicle Road to the Forestland Boulders, I walked up the trail to join Ben and the Dooley family as he worked on The Shield.
We did a few cool crimpy lines, but I particularly enjoyed working on Fiend it Like a Crack, which we somehow missed getting photos of. We also did Toto, which was fun despite being a bit of a one-move wonder. It also gave Ben a perfect opportunity to document my climbing face.
Having worked up a nice appetite, we went back to clean up then walked down the street for dinner. A few people had described Leavenworth to me as a "fake Bavarian Estes Park," and as soon as I was downtown that description seemed dead on.
Perhaps a little overdone, but at least I didn't have to feel uncomfortable when I was taking photos of everything in obvious tourist fashion.
Hoping the rain holds off for a little more climbing tomorrow, but either way I'm planning on grabbing something good here for lunch before going up to Vancouver for the night. Then from there just another hour on the road and I'll be in Squamish. As hard as it was to leave Montana so soon, this is a pretty awesome alternative!