Being a young kid growing up in the kayak scene I always looked to the top to find my inspiration. Being from the Gallatin valley there was a group of well known amazing paddlers living right here in my home town...often know as the NERPU boys!
They made films such as Nerpu, Valhalla, Weyakin, and One World. The Teton Gravity Research boys were locals in my home town! So this made it easy for a number of incredible legends and stories to come up around town. Matt Wilson, Ben Selznick, Brain Fletcher, Nick Turner, Seth Warren, Brett "Soup" Ferre, and many other good ole' boys ripped up the best rivers and creek around Montana and the Rockies. There were two rivers that really stood out in my mind...Big Timber Creek and The Box of the Clark's fork of the Yellowstone.
"The Box" for short, was a 2-3 day run in North Western Wyoming, only a few short hours from Bozeman. I had always heard terror stories about this canyon and what it was capable of doing to even the best of paddlers. In my head this was the far exterior of what was possible in a kayak and because kayaking was the center of my own little universe...it was the coolest most badass thing I could think about doing in life!
Fast forward 8 to 9 years...thousands of days on the river...and instead of the kid watching all the movies just dreaming of becoming a so called "pro kayaker"...here I am doing nothing but going kayaking and making movies of my own. This has been quite the transformation to be a part of and it wasn't all that easy int he end, but passion and staying true to what I really wanted to become have lead me to this point in life. There I was 22 years old finally at the Put-in of The Box with 6 of my close friends ready to go!
The Box starts off with a tight little canyon known as the Honeymooner! This is mostly made up of fun class IV drops getting you ready and warmed up for the first big portage of the Box. Once you reach the Green Monster you walk high river right for about 30-45 minuets before you reach the river and an hour of flat water before the river starts to drop again. The scenery is next best to none! An amazing wilderness setting reveals itself as you float deeper and deeper into the gorge.
The whitewater that is held within The Box is world class...for the most part the rapids are very clean and runnable. There are anywhere from 5-10 portages in the run depending on how hard you want to go, but for the most part the big stuff is all walkable/sneak-able. Some of the bigger marquee drops are Deep 6, Balls to the Wall, Snuliguster, Deliberation Corner, Dilly-wacker, and Leap of Faith. There are tons more amazing class IV-V drops in there to enjoy, but just remember keep your bow up and head dry!
Tyler about to do some subbing in Deep 6! This is a classic drop that looks easy to boof, but turns out to be quite difficult resulting in some downtime! Photo Eric Parker
Deliberation Corner...you make the line or die? Weird odds, but them move goes. Photo Eric Parker
The crew scouting out Balls to the Wall! Check out that sick canyon wall. Both times we ran The Box we saw climbers sending some huge cracks on river left. Photo Eric Parker
POV shot of dropping in to Balls!
Ryan Lucas styling out Deliberation Corner the crux of the entire run. Photo EG
If you look closely you will see a white Mountain Goat high on a cliff over the river. Photo Eric Parker
Lane Jacobs boofing the oh so classic ledge drop exiting a beautiful committing canyon. Photo EG
Ryan scouting the tight line of Deliberation Corner. Photo Eric Parker
Erik Johnson running a smooth line down B.T.T.W. Photo Eric Parker
Mr. Johnson keeping the fire burning so we can cook our dinner. Photo Eric Parker
We caught some very tasty trout right in front of our camp site and ate demshitz. Photo Eric Parker
Myself capturing the beauty of Northern Wyoming. Photo Eric Parker
Johnson running Leap of Faith the last major rapid of The Box. Photo EG
Myself dropping into Deep 6! Photo Eric Parker
We saw a wild Grizzy Bear while driving through Yellowstone national park on the way home. Photo Eric Parker
The Clark's fork canyon from the Chief Josep scenic highway. Photo EG
Camp Time. Photo Eric Parker
The full moon rising over our camp on night one. Photo EG
Ben Kinsella and Eric Parker running Balls! Photo EG
Myself in the middle of Balls going super fast towards the last slot of the rapid! Photo Eric Parker
One thing I loved about the box, other than the scenery, drops, camping, and fishing, is the fact that all the mandatory portages are 100% portages. There is no second guessing the run-ability of any of the big walks...they are absolutely massive and sieved out as a wife and kids. (just kidding)
It was a total trip dropping in to The Box, twice in one year, having two successful runs with great friends. If you would have walked up to me 8 years ago and told me i was going to be lapping The Box someday...I would have laughed and said "No Way". It's amazing how life changes and will lead you down different paths. I couldn't be more happy to declare that I am truly living my childhood dream...being the elusive "Pro Kayaker" making hundreds upon hundreds of dollars and traveling the world chasing down the best rivers it has to offer.
Look for our footage in Bomb Flow TV episode #5 coming soon....