Montana Outdoors

March 23, 2011

Bon Voyage

Filed under: Montana — montucky @ 10:58 pm

Just below my house the Clark Fork River flows between the Coeur d’Alene Mountains and the Cabinet Mountains and there is a deer trail there through the dense willows just above the river. My tracks can often be found on it too.

Several days ago as I followed that little trail I noticed something on the bank just a few feet from the water. It was a curiosity, but I didn’t push through the willows and down the bank for a closer look. It is common to see odd things wash up on the shore.

The vessel

It was still there today, curiosity finally got the best of me and I did investigate. When I reached down and turned it over, I was a bit surprised at what I saw (I removed the name from the photo):

The vessel

Half a mile down stream there is a rapids and at the upper end swift water flows out to the white water in the middle of the river. I carried it there, respectfully relaunched the vessel and watched to assure that it made it completely through the rapids.

The vessel

Yes, “Safe Sailing” and Bon Voyage!

Through the rapids



  1. I’d say you were the right person for the job..Nice photos once again!!!


    Comment by mitambien — March 23, 2011 @ 11:05 pm

  2. omg…how bizarre. but come to think about it…what a great way to go. i may be rewriting my will =o)


    Comment by Sandy — March 23, 2011 @ 11:07 pm

    • My thoughts are that it was the person’s request. How difficult it must have been for the son or daughter to let it go!


      Comment by montucky — March 23, 2011 @ 11:14 pm

  3. wow, I’m glad you took the time to check it out. That was a kind thing that you were able to continue to send it on its way.


    Comment by Bo Mackison — March 23, 2011 @ 11:27 pm

    • Yes, I think that would have been desired. I wonder what the final expectation was.


      Comment by montucky — March 23, 2011 @ 11:53 pm

  4. What do you think will happen when it gets to the Thompson Falls dam ????Then comes the Noxon dam.


    Comment by Frances Schenck — March 24, 2011 @ 12:13 am

    • I suspect it will just go over at Thompson Falls and maybe even at Noxon Rapids, but I don’t know. There are also lots of other hazards for it along the way. A lot depends too on the runoff that is coming.


      Comment by montucky — March 24, 2011 @ 8:10 am

  5. How touching ! I am very glad you were there at the right place and moment, montucky. Thank you for allowing his journey to go on. Bon voyage, indeed.


    Comment by isathreadsoflife — March 24, 2011 @ 1:58 am

    • It is a strange thing, but who could do otherwise? I hope that whatever the expectation may have been that it will be met.


      Comment by montucky — March 24, 2011 @ 8:14 am

  6. Wow, that is a wonderful and touching story. I could well understand why this lovely river was chosen for the journey. It is a beautiful place.


    Comment by Ann — March 24, 2011 @ 8:17 am

    • Yes, it is beautiful. Quite a place for a final journey.


      Comment by montucky — March 24, 2011 @ 8:23 am

  7. Wow my friend that is amazing, I would love to find something like that, and you sure did the right thing too, God bless you and have a great day, Barbara


    Comment by Barbara H — March 24, 2011 @ 8:41 am

    • I was quite surprised to see the inscription. I had thought it was probably a part of something that had broken off and washed away.


      Comment by montucky — March 24, 2011 @ 9:44 am

  8. Terry, that is so great of you to do! Lucky that you saw it!


    Comment by Barbara — March 24, 2011 @ 12:30 pm

    • It was lucky perhaps. In a month or so the high water of the spring runoff would have moved it from where it was, but might have left it even higher away from the water in another place on down stream. Now it will depend on how far it goes before the high water time comes. there are so many variables!


      Comment by montucky — March 24, 2011 @ 10:06 pm

  9. I think I am speechless.


    Comment by Rberta Warshaw — March 24, 2011 @ 1:56 pm

    • It’s something very unusual. A couple of years ago my son found a bottle with an inscription and inside was a note from a little girl to Santa. We re-sealed it also and sent it back on its way.


      Comment by montucky — March 24, 2011 @ 10:08 pm

  10. Now that is the way to go! It was so good of you to help him on his path home.


    Comment by sandy — March 24, 2011 @ 2:04 pm

    • I have to think that was the wish of that person, and I would certainly honor his wish.


      Comment by montucky — March 24, 2011 @ 10:10 pm

  11. You know…that is not a bad way to go. Thank you for sharing and for doing the right thing. Somewhere…he appreciates it.


    Comment by Scott Thomas Photography — March 24, 2011 @ 2:48 pm

    • It is an interesting situation, isn’t it! Only on a river in the northwest I think!


      Comment by montucky — March 24, 2011 @ 10:11 pm

  12. That’s really sweet. What a neat thing to do.


    Comment by songofthewolf — March 24, 2011 @ 3:41 pm

  13. Hi Montucky, This has to be the most emotional and unusual of your posts to date. Glad you handled everything so well. Touching. Have a super nice rest of the evening and a brilliant day tomorrow.


    Comment by wildlifewatcher — March 24, 2011 @ 6:30 pm

    • It sure is unusual! I also found the “Safe Sailing Dad” note very touching! I have not encountered anything like it before.


      Comment by montucky — March 24, 2011 @ 10:13 pm

  14. Very interesting find. Glad it was possible to re-launch and say bon voyage.


    Comment by knightofswords — March 24, 2011 @ 6:53 pm

    • Yes. The vessel was in good condition and the location was good. I hope if it gets stopped again that someone will pay the same respect to it.


      Comment by montucky — March 24, 2011 @ 10:16 pm

  15. Very touching. It’s all about the journey…


    Comment by Maureen — March 24, 2011 @ 7:43 pm

    • It is, Maureen. I wonder what memories he had of the river in those 92 years.


      Comment by montucky — March 24, 2011 @ 10:17 pm

  16. Sad, but very beautiful and romantic. Hopefully there will be other people along the way who will help the little vessel continue on its journey.


    Comment by kateri — March 24, 2011 @ 9:09 pm

    • I hope there will be too, Kateri. Knowing the type of people up here who spend time near or on the river, I would feel quite confident that there will be.


      Comment by montucky — March 24, 2011 @ 10:18 pm

  17. Wow. How wonderful.

    I have thought I would like to go similarly, all the way to the Pacific.


    Comment by Patia — March 24, 2011 @ 9:16 pm

    • You know, Patia, that may well have been his wish. One last journey, all of the way this time. I sure hope it happens!


      Comment by montucky — March 24, 2011 @ 10:20 pm

  18. I am so touched after reading this. Well done. I am sure that next who finds it do the same. The story is exceptional and I have never heard anything like that.

    Bon voyage petit navire!


    Comment by sartenada — March 25, 2011 @ 12:23 am

    • I have never seen anything like it either. It is interesting and, as you say, touching to contemplate it.


      Comment by montucky — March 25, 2011 @ 9:22 am

  19. I’ve never heard of anything like that before… we learn something new everyday! =)


    Comment by Tricia — March 25, 2011 @ 7:59 am

    • I am guessing that it would likely only happen where the river is still somewhat wild. I wish I knew the entire story and the circumstances.


      Comment by montucky — March 25, 2011 @ 9:24 am

  20. PS Gorgeous scenery!!! =)


    Comment by Tricia — March 25, 2011 @ 8:00 am

  21. You paid it forward. 🙂 Touching story and thanks for sharing the photos of the journey. He’s sailing beautiful country.


    Comment by kcjewel — March 25, 2011 @ 8:08 am

    • It is a very pretty river in its entire length. The journey would complete where the Columbia River flows into the Pacific at Astoria Oregon.


      Comment by montucky — March 25, 2011 @ 9:27 am

  22. I have to say that’s something you don’t find everyday.


    Comment by Ratty — March 25, 2011 @ 8:23 am

    • It was a first for me, Ratty! That’s not something I would choose for myself, but who knows exactly what the circumstances were. The river is still wild enough that it might work, and I would expect that other folks will do what I did if they encounter it.


      Comment by montucky — March 25, 2011 @ 9:31 am

  23. Amazing Terry. How awesome of you to keep it floating…. and what a beautiful tribute for someone.


    Comment by Stacey Dawn — March 25, 2011 @ 9:38 am

    • It is certainly interesting, no matter what becomes of it.


      Comment by montucky — March 25, 2011 @ 11:00 am

  24. Great story, that must go down as one of your most original finds while out on a hike. I like the idea of it too, but like you, I’m not sure I’d want that for myself. Glad you were able to help this vessel on its journey.


    Comment by farmhouse stories — March 25, 2011 @ 9:58 am

    • Yes, it sure wasn’t anything I expected. Someone certainly wanted that, I think possible as a result of his own experiences with the river.


      Comment by montucky — March 25, 2011 @ 11:01 am

  25. What an incredibly odd but fascinating thing…I can understand why he would start his journey in that beautiful country, though.


    Comment by burstmode — March 25, 2011 @ 2:11 pm

    • Perhaps he viewed it as a return home. The town where he was born is downstream from here right along the Columbia river and this is the Clark Fork of the Columbia.


      Comment by montucky — March 25, 2011 @ 3:47 pm

  26. What a sobering moment, really. And, yet, so nice that you did find the vessel and send it onward again instead of it maybe laying unnoticed for who-knows-how-long. It’s really very thought-provoking on many levels, I’m sure you thought about it all day.


    Comment by Candace — March 25, 2011 @ 10:47 pm

    • Yes, it is sobering to encounter something like that. It felt like a responsibility and a special opportunity at the same time. The action of course was obvious.


      Comment by montucky — March 26, 2011 @ 6:53 pm

  27. Thanks for sharing this story… and for sending the voyager onward. What an unusual way for a family to dispose of ashes… my parents ashes were both scattered (years apart) somewhere that I probably shouldn’t share in a public forum! Let’s just say that their ashes are together for eternity somewhere in Montana and leave it at that. Dad was also born in 1918 so this post has me thinking back to memories of his life… good memories!


    Comment by Victoria — March 26, 2011 @ 1:34 pm

    • It is unusual, but I have a feeling that it was the man’s request. He was born near the mouth of the river and died not all that far from its source.


      Comment by montucky — March 26, 2011 @ 6:55 pm

  28. This was really, really, sweet. Thanks for helping this soul continue the journey and thanks for sharing this.


    Comment by Wild_Bill — March 26, 2011 @ 6:29 pm

    • I thought that perhaps others would find the encounter interesting, perhaps thought provoking. I found the message to be very touching.


      Comment by montucky — March 26, 2011 @ 6:58 pm

  29. oh wow! I am so glad you checked it out. very moving….I’ve never seen anything like that, but what a fantastic journey!


    Comment by silken — March 26, 2011 @ 9:49 pm

    • I’m glad I did too. It would have floated again during the runoff, but I think it was better to get it moving before that happens.


      Comment by montucky — March 26, 2011 @ 10:43 pm

  30. Wow! It looks like any stopping place along the river would make a fitting burial spot. But hopefully river people like yourself will keep helping him along on the journey. Have you estimated how far the journey has been so far in these two months since his passing?


    Comment by flowerweaver — March 27, 2011 @ 6:21 am

    • It has been only about 80 miles but of course I don’t know when it was put into the river. Most likely it spent most of the time frozen in ice on the river too.


      Comment by montucky — March 27, 2011 @ 9:00 am

  31. I’m wondering if you Googled the name on the “little boat” and filled in some of the gaps in the man’s story. Not prying for details, just wondering if YOU know any more about him than what was inscribed on his receptacle.


    Comment by Kim — March 28, 2011 @ 8:53 pm

    • After some thought I chose not to do any investigating, even though the man’s name was on the vessel. No, I don’t know any more of the story, although I think it may be quite interesting!


      Comment by montucky — March 28, 2011 @ 9:21 pm

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