July 26, 2014
Selway River Trip Day 5
This was to be a long day, so we got an early start. Paradoxically, my kayak was more difficult to pack than it had been on our first day, despite the fact that I had eaten all of my food. We ran a few more small rapids, then started seeing some hikers and park rangers. When we reached the take-out at 11 a.m., we saw port-a-potty. We were officially back in civilization.
After packing our vehicles and taking a look at the class VI (“unrunnable”) Selway Falls, we drove one final time through the Bitterroot National Forest to Missoula, Montana. I could not have planned a better trip to end my stay in the United States. Beijing is a huge city, and the Selway gave me one last taste of exactly the opposite. I've had some amazing adventures in my five years as a member of the Hoofer Outing Club, and the Selway River was one of my favorites.
My next stop was to be Seattle, and I had come on this trip without any flights or hotel rooms booked. My lack of planning came in handy: Cathi Jo, one of the rafters in our group, was driving to Seattle that afternoon. We loaded our stuff into her car, said goodbye to the Madison contingent and made our way to I-90 for the last leg of my cross-country road trip.
Forested hills gave way to desolate flatland as we drove across Montana, Idaho and Washington. It was amazing how quickly the landscape changed. After making our way over a mountain pass, we headed downhill and were in Seattle at around midnight. It was my first time in the city, where my focus would shift to getting ready for China.