Day 6 - Second day in Three Forks, Montana

Trip Start Aug 26, 2011
Trip End Sep 10, 2011

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Where I stayed
Missouri Headwaters State Park
What I did

Flag of United States  , Montana
Wednesday, August 31, 2011

We slept in a little this morning, had breakfast and then went looking for an RV dump site.  According to our AAA book, there was supposed to be one at the campgrounds.  No such luck.  We ended up going into Three Forks and found one at the Cashdollar; a quaint little store with a hole in the back parking lot.  That was the dump site.  They didn't charge anything but did have a donation box.

We were then off to the Madison Buffalo Jump State Park just a few miles away.  Most of it was an awful gravel road that shook our fillings loose.  We were a bit disappointed with the trails once we got there.  The map didn't measure up to what we experienced (What is it with Montana map makers?) and the hike up to the cliff looked pretty rough.  That and we were warned about rattlesnakes.  So.... we decided not to hike.  We stayed for a bit, took some pictures, and had lunch in the RV in the parking lot.  Now you might be wondering what is the deal with the Madison Buffalo Jump State Park.  Well basically it's a big cliff and for, supposedly, 2000 years many American Indian Tribes would herd buffalo and drive them over the cliff.  If any were still alive after they hit the bottom, they would club them to death, then skin and butcher them for their winter food.  Sounds pleasant, no?  Take a look at the pictures.  This is no little cliff.

After lunch we headed back to our campsite at Missouri Headwaters State Park and then went hiking.

We learned some interesting things about the area and the Lewis & Clark expedition that we didn't know.  The Missouri river is actually formed by 3 rivers, though officially, the headwaters begin before the 3rd river enters.  The 2 rivers that form the Missouri are the Madison and Jefferson.  These 2 rivers were named by Meriwether Lewis for President Thomas Jefferson, who's vision launched the expedition, and for then Secretary of State James Madison. 
The name Missouri is actually a shortened/abbreviated native American name for the river.  The name means "people with wooden canoes."

About a half mile to a mile downstream enters the Gallatin river, also named by Meriwether Lewis for Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin.

We weren't aware until we got here that the headwaters are a National Historic Landmark.  That's a pretty big deal.

We also learned more about Sacajawea and found out that she was from this area. She was kidnapped by another Indian tribe when she was younger, She became a part of the Lewis & Clark expedition and recognized the headwaters as her original home when the expedition arrived at the headwaters.

Temperature-wise, it never got above 65 degrees the whole day.  It was sooooo nice.  At night it got down to 47.

We had a nice quiet evening.  Next.... it's on to West Yellowstone....
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