Montana #1

Trip Start Aug 12, 2002
Trip End Aug 29, 2002

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Flag of United States  , Montana
Friday, August 16, 2002

Custer's Last Stand

One of our stops in Montana was inspirational and educational. It was at Little Big Horn - or better known as "Custer's Last Stand". Just think - standing on the spot where that great man was killed. It contained the whole history.

The two pictures above are from the lecture site facing the hill and the graves. The monument is where they buried some 200+ bodies from the massacre in a mass grave. Adjoining the area is a cemetery of relatives of those killed. Did you know there were more civilians killed that day then military personnel? Did you know that most of those soldiers had NEVER fired their rifle before that day?

Onward and upward (North) to Great Falls. The weather was lousy and the wind was upward of 40 to 50 miles per hour. So little time was wasted but a peek at the dam and of the Missouri River was all we did before going further North. (no pictures)

Glacier National Park is what I thought of as "the most", at the time. The mountains were huge, they were massive, they were tall. I was impressed. Little did I know that further on we were to see even 'huger', 'massiver', and 'taller' ones. This midwestern kid has seen a lot of mountains in our travels both from car and the air - but these were MOUNTAINS!

I took tons of pictures because everytime I looked in a different direction there was another view to capture. We drove to 10,000+ feet were the visitor center was located and there was fresh fallen snow on the roof. It had snowed the night before. It was melting. It was the middle of August and snow was not a term for me at this time of year. There was a lot of snow on those big mountains but not where we drove.

Bev Holds Back Glacier

Keith Holds Down Glacier

That is until we came to a glacier that actually came down onto the road. It was small but it was the first glacier I was able to touch. It was fun to make snowballs in the middle of August. When viewing these white areas on top of the mountains the brochures would say it was 'so and so' glacier. One tourist close by was heard to say - "It just looks like a pile of snow to me." It did but he was not about to take the challenge from his partner to climb up there and prove it.

One of the Beautiful Views Gazing Upward

One of the Beuatiful Views Gazing Downward (DUH!)

A "Flower" (DUH!)

The Bear Flower

As you drive along this two lane road there are numerous pull-offs to park and take your time. We knew we did not have time to see it all but many stops were made. The pictures are from a few of these stops including the animals and flowers spotted along the way - usually at the larger rest stops. The lodge in the park was full up and we had to drive a long way before we were to find a bed for the night.

Almost Tame Mountain Goat

This park is a must on anyone's list if they are at all interested in the mountains.

Libby is a town where I worked 39 years previous as a summer job during college. I was dating Bev at the time and wrote her a lot of letters from here. It was one town on this trip that I so wanted to visit and show her. It was a big disappointment in that nothing was where it had been and I did not remember it as it is now - gee, what was I to expect? That summer I was a forest fire fighter for the US Forest Service and they now have a new building - not the old army type barracks from the past. In fact, they even built a big Dam on the Kootenai River. The big changes was the only memory I could take home from Libby.

Kootenai Falls, Libby, Montana

Just West of Libby a couple of miles on Highway 2 is a local roadside park with a hiking trail down to Kootenai Falls. The roar and the mist from the falls greeted us before we even saw the river. The falls is not one of height but of length and power. The picture here shows most of it but the length and power is hard to capture on film (I should say "digits").

Load Limit = 5

Also the local Kiwanis Club constructed a swinging bridge across the river. It is well constructed (at least it held us) and is limited to only 5 people at a time. In Bev's case it was limited to only one (1) person - her.

Bev's Limit = 1

She was shaky but did make it all the way across as the picture shows. It does not really go anywhere - just to a trail on the other side that makes a loop back to the falls and then returns to the bridge. It was a good break.

Now is the time to head on into Canada. A few miles West we are in Idaho and then only a few miles - maybe 1 hour we crossed the corner of that State and approached the Canadian border. It was amazing how easy it was to go through the check point. We must have looked innocent.

The next entry will be about our swing up the West side of the Rocky Mountains, crossing over to Lake Louis and then down the East side to Calgary and back into Montana.
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