Editor’s note: Eric Seymour is a professional kayaker with descents all over the world. This is a recent trip report from the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone located in Montana and Wyoming
by Eric Seymour
The Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone, Box has never been really high on my hit list. Living in Wyoming for the past 7 years, I have spent my time exploring the Wind’s and going on trips back to California (where I started paddling). I had heard horror stories about the Box containing terrible portages, ugly sieves, and undercuts everywhere. I finally decided to check the run off my list this year as I was desperate to paddle after spending two weeks on the road working for Eddie Bauer in Seattle and New York City. I had a five day break in which I flew flew back to Jackson from NYC .
With only five days before I had to return back to NYC, I made some phone calls and found a group going to the Box. The trip was being led by Clarks Fork veteran Aaron Pruzan. I was ready to go, but really needed my wingman Gary Edgeworth to join the trip. With a lot of persuasive messages to “The Edge,” he finally agreed to join me for our first trip down the Box.
We woke early rallied through Yellowstone to the put-in. Getting on the river felt amazing. I finally let out a huge sigh of relief, knowing that no matter how bad I thought the trip was going to be, I was truly in my element. We cruised through the Honeymoon section and arrived at the legendary Green Monster Portage. This was supposedly the worst portage of the run, being over a mile long, walking through Grizzly infested woods. With Pruzan’s help, we found the trail and cruised through the relatively easy portage in under 40 minutes. “Wow, that was easy,” I said with surprise to Gary and he completely agreed.
Downstream we entered into one of the most awe inspiring canyons I have ever paddled through. The Clarks Fork Box is the 3rd deepest canyon in the lower 48 behind Hell’s Canyon of the Snake River and the Grand Canyon. Vertical walls rose 2000 feet right next to the river and the rapids were amazing. We found a beautiful sandy beach to camp. We spent time fishing, sitting next to a fire, and finally I fell asleep under the most magnificent blanket of stars I have ever seen.
I will put the Clarks Fork, Box on my yearly to do list. I absolutely loved the run. The rapids were big and fun, scenery unbeatable, and the portages were totally manageable. Thanks to Pruzan for guiding us down the run, thanks to Gary for running all the big ones right by my side, and of course thanks to my Villain for taking care of me.