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River Horse ... Revisited???
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Casey



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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 4:34 pm    Post subject: River Horse ... Revisited??? Reply with quote

Ok ... many of us cut our C-Dory 'teeth after reading William Least Heat-Moon's "River Horse."

His book was the first I'd ever heard of a C-Dory. He planted the seed.

Has anyone considered re-doing his East-to-West journey? I have thought about it, and the more I think ... the more tempted I become.

Frankly, I never finished his book. I only made it about half way through River Horse; his writing style just put me off. I may need to re-think that.

Back to my question: has anyone thought about redoing his Adventure?

Thoughts?

Best,
Casey&Mary

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thataway



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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thought about it--definitely yes. But the portages are the major issue. Maybe that could become the next "Great Loop" craze! Too old to consider it now.

We did follow the trail of Lewis and Clark a few years back ---in the RV--as close as we could--and that showed us some of the obstacles which River Horse faced; They are daunting.

I just looked at William Least Heat Moon's Facebook site--not much of River Horse there...unfortunately.

Casey, you need to finish the book--since the Western part of trip, is where it gets interesting...It appears that one person did a routing of his route on Google Earth, but that has been lost. Google earth would be a great way to start the "voyage" to see what obsticals you might find. Maybe Google would finance it, as they did the Mississippi river filming crew we met last October.

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thataway



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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a map of projected voyage

Here is the page which describes and links to the sections to the river in the book.

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potter water



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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, finish the book. Some of the best stuff is there. Least Heat put a lot of liberal political stuff in the book and writes with a holier that though style, but as a writer myself, I actually enjoyed that kind of use of words and phrases. He's made money, I haven't. His books are very close to art. He also wrote Prairie Earth which is also loaded with high tone writing, but is nevertheless fascinating. It would be good for everyone to read some high quality writing, politically toned or otherwise. And, River Horse is a good start to appreciate a near classical writing style. I've read the book 4 times cover to cover and even as a hard core Trump conservative I've enjoyed it.

It ain't braggin' if you can do it, and Least Heat wrote a great book.

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potter water



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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also, Least Heat was hell bent to complete that trip in one season. The next person to try it would have a pretty easy time treating it like a looper trip. Pick the best time of year for each leg and do it over several years.
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Two Bears



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've not read the book, so I can't comment on his experiences, but I've heard a lot about it. I live in Orofino, Idaho on the Clearwater River where Lewis & Clark changed from horses to canoes at Canoe Camp on the lower edge of town. My other life passion is Lewis and Clark so for the past 30 years I've been sampling portions of their trip.

From here in Orofino/ Canoe Camp it is about 45 river miles to Lewiston, Idaho, the junction with the Snake River and upper end slack-water. Jet boats run that Clearwater River section but there is usually a wreck each year and I would not attempt it in my CD 22. The corps of Discovery wrecked a big canoe going down the river in a rapid half way to Lewiston and spent two days drying gear and repairing the boat. From Lewiston down the Snake and Columbia Rivers it is slack-water thru the dam/ locks to the sea at Astoria and the mouth of the Columbia. Rob McCain did it a few years ago and described it in another thread on this forum. It's not especially difficult except the wind can kick up on the exposed sections of Columbia River desert lakes, usually in the afternoons. There is a reason the sail boards love it.

As others have mentioned, perhaps the best boating would be the approach up the Missouri River thru many dams. The run from St Louis to the dam at Lake Sakakawea (in northern North Dakota) would be fun and a challenge. That is a lot of miles of shifting sand bars to slow things down but working around and finding the new channels would be time consuming and interesting. I've talked to canoes that have gone down river and they all enjoyed it, but you are facing the sun and it becomes a challenge. Like always, no matter which way you are going the wind is always in your face. Above Fort Peck the river gets quite shallow. I canoed from Fort Benton down to Fort Peck lake's slack-water years ago. In July the river was so shallow in places I had to get out and pull the canoe down stream dragging it over the gravel. I can't imagine getting a C-Dory upstream above Fort Peck Dam except high water in the spring. From Fort Peck down to North Dakota it would be "interesting."

Chuck

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conunuu



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I too have a C-Dory because of "River Horse". Dr. Bob mentioned using Google Earth to start your voyage and I love voyaging by Google Earth when I'm stuck at work. I searched and finally found a .kmz file that has the complete route color coded by section. It will not let me attach it here though because .kmz is not on the list of allowed attachments. I can email it to you and anyone who wants it.
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Gene&Mary



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad this subject has come up again. I'm about half way thru the book, he just entered the Missouri.

He definitely has his own writing style. It took me a while to figure out who Pilotis is.......guess I should have read the very front of the book first. I enjoy his historical asides about what the rivers were like. I also didn't realize the obstacles of river travel that he described.

Its quite an adventure, especially in one season.
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thataway



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

conunuu,
I would love to have that link. I suspect that you could post the link--like I did to the link to the rough sketch of the route, but not the KMZ file as a "image".

Thanks for finding that!
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conunuu



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a great idea, I didn't think about posting the link. For some reason I cannot get the link to post with the entire thing hot-linked, but you can copy and paste it into a new tab.

https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/gec-arts-literature-moderated/p8n4v6tc9UM
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Chuckpacific



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2017 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Missouri is a navigable channel up to Ponca (basically 10 miles north of Sioux City, IA). After that it is a combination of wild river and whatever the effects the many dams (after Ponca) have on it. The wild Missouri is very fast. When it is slowed by the dams it drops considerable sediment resulting in channel changing bars. Having read River Horse several times I'm always impressed that he made it at all. I wouldn't recommend the upriver journey for a C-Dory. Jet boats with plenty of time and money plus a support crew to rescue and refuel stranded craft would be better suited for the trip. It is a great canoe/kayak trip and with the exception of a few settlements here and there one wouldn't see a soul.
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ghone



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2017 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Casey. Like you I tossed the book at half way. Then I tried again. Made it. Actually a very good read when you get his style. Read it often now. It seems that as soon as you hit the shallows as others have said. It becomes more of an ordeal than a quest. LHM likes the big words and complex structure but as an explorer/adventurer he has the grit where it counts. Go give it a whirl you have zip to prove so the day it's no fun say ok we're done! Have a pint. 😎👍
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Casey



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 4:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yea, I may have to revisit River Horse one of these days before too long.

I looked at the .kmz file that conunuu provided; pretty neat. The routing is amazing, and fun to fly along via computer, even if we don't make the real trip. It would be fun to use Google Earth and "fly" upstream a couple hundred feet off the water. (One of these days we'll be able to do that and see "real time" imagery!)

I was over at the storage unit yesterday, and while there I checked to see if my copy of RH was still in a box. Not. Guess I'll have to keep my eye-out for a copy in the books-for-sale room at the library.

Everyone's positive comments on RH and LHM tell me I should give him another 'chance. Will do. Maybe the next reading will be the 'charm.

Best,
C&M
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El and Bill



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

El and I paddled a double kayak down the Upper Missouri through Montana down to "'navigable by small boat" section in South Dakota, and C-Dor-ied the lower stretch down to the Miss. The Upper Missouri is a fine kayak down- river run with portages, rapids and dams. Ridiculous with a C-Dory.
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Marco Flamingo



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I gave away my copy a few years ago, but it might not have too much detail in the part that interests me now. Lake Fort Peck (reservoir) is claimed to have 1,500 miles of shoreline (depending on water level) that is completely surrounded by public land, mostly wildlife reserves. There are three or four marinas that have fuel, spaced about 50 miles apart, so fuel doesn't seem to be an issue. It is difficult to tell exactly where the lake ends and the "Upper Breaks" of the Missouri start. Going upstream to explore in a CD 16 seems relatively safe, although it sure looks like remote country.

Has anybody boated on Lake Fort Peck?

Mark
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