Bottom end of the Whoop Up

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Flag of United States  , Montana
Tuesday, October 9, 2007

You may remember when we were way up in Canada we went to Fort Whoop Up, we just had to. Well I think we said there was a Whoop Up Trail, would you believe that today we went to the other end of that trail - Fort Benton. Why it didn't have a great name like Fort "Sober" or "the Hangover Trading Post" I don't know but as we were so close to the start of the end that we started with (if you are keeping up) then we had to go to Fort Benton - so we did.
On the way we stopped at a look out (lay-by with a view) only to be confronted with that old Lewis and Clark malarkey as well as notice boards explaining the strategic positioning of the town - Fort Benton. It was the furthest navigable point upstream on the Missouri for the paddle steamers. We ate lunch and filled up with historical information.
Continuing on we turned off the main road and caught a glimpse of the town nestling down in the valley in front of us.
Guess what, Gill, there is an historical downtown. This was a good one and along the riverside, once a bustling "wild west" trading centre, is a fascinating "board walk". By that I mean lots more of those informational history lessons on boards set along the walkway. Some of them explained about the buildings others about the way of life and then there were the characters that built the town and its reputation. We even came across some that we had seen before - Big Nose Kate being one we remember from Tombstone. See they got around in those days too.
The main street is actually just buildings on one side as the other is the bank of that old muddy - the Missouri.
At the eastern end we bumped into those explorers Lewis and Clark again with Sacagawea (you know the Indian lady who helped them out).

The original fort is long gone but they have built a replica of part of it in the correct position and there is a small portion of one of the old adobe walls still there.

Walking back along that main street we tried to imagine the hustle and bustle there that lasted for a good 30 years or more some 150ish years ago. Sadly (or maybe not) it seems a bit quieter now, a number of the big old buildings are up for sale and any whoop ups are probably completed in the bar after a day's hunting...

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