Thursday, May 31, 2012

Great Falls to St. Mary's, MT

We camped at Walmart in Great Falls. Shopped for groceries, converted some cash to Canadian at Wells Fargo. They were going to charge us $5 each, but since Mitch has an account there, we made her convert it all for us. There was some higher level math going on, but I think it all came out even. $1 U.S. equals about $.98 Canadian. 
Mitch's Fun Finder (on the left) made a friend at Walmart.
 You never know what you might see in a Walmart parking lot.
 Thursday morning Birdie did what she does best...went birding with friends. The rest of us went to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and Giant Springs Park.
Lewis and Clark's expedition had to portage their boats over 5 different waterfalls along this stretch of the Missouri River. In recent years dams have been built, completely covering one set of falls. Notice they built the dam back so as to leave the natural falls visible. This is Rainbow Falls.

From Lewis's journal: June 13, 1805  " I had proceed on this course about two miles with Goodrich at some distance behind me whin my ears were saluted with the agreeable sound of a fall of water and advancing a little further I saw the spray arrise above the plain like a collumn of smoke which soon began to make a roaring too tremendious to be mistaken for any cause short of the great falls of the Missouri. Here I arrived about 12 Oclock. From the reflection of the sum on the sprey or mist which arrises from these falls is a beautifull rainbow produced which adds not a little to the beauty of this majestically grand senery."
 This is a photo of the falls before the dam was built.
This diagram shows the location of the falls.
 Crooked Falls
 We did a little birding too: Mallards
 Canada Goose and goslings
Clark described finding a Giant Spring: "we proceed on up the river a little more than a mile to the largest fountain or Spring I ever saw,"
 "this water boils up from under the rocks near the edge of the river and falls imediately into the river 8 feet and keeps its Colour for 1/2 mile,"
 "which is emencely clear and of a bluish cast." 
But to really see it, click on the video.
THere was also a trout hatchery located beside the Giant Springs. These are rainbow trout.
 Inside the trout nursery.
 At the Interpretive Center, Mitch posed beside Jefferson...there was a short joke involved.
This life-size diorama of the portage is two stories tall.
 We watched two excellent films about the expedition and the portage around Great Falls.
 Next we got a chance to try a portage.
Mitch pulled first.
 I didn't do much good. Of all of us, Nan did the best.
 One of Jefferson's instructions to Lewis and Clark was to collect plant specimens not known in the U.S.
 Lewis' Blue Flax still grows outside the Interpretive Center.
Mitch tried carrying Sacajawea's papoose.
 It was a little heavy for her.
Mitch was choosing which expedition outfit to try on.
 What do you think?
Back at Walmart there was some gull courtship going on.
 Mitch, Tina, and I started on our way to St. Mary's Campground at Glacier National Park. Nan and Birdie are staying in Great Falls until Saturday to wait for mail to be delivered. This sign was in a rest area.
 Scenery on the way.
 Warning...always secure your cabinets when traveling in the mountains or on curvy roads. Tina had an oops.
 Our view from the campground tonight.


  1. I love that amazing spring. You got some great pics of the others in the museum but someone got a great shot of you pulling on that boat. You really put your back into it. Sure hope that Tina didn't lose anything too important in that spill--lots of breakage. Bad enough to have to clean it up.

  2. Lizzie, sure enjoyed those springs...kind of like "let's go for a dip" LOL any way again great pictures..Loved Mitch's outfits..You Sistahs are having great times and lots of jaw action..(smiling)...Oops poor Tina..been there done that one too.. Keep them pictures coming..God Bless Zeee and Critters 3

  3. What a great post it bought back the memories of Lewis's journals and also the little book of Sacajawea... I read these while a bus driver and had a young student that was a reader also we exchanged books... how fun it must have been to see the falls and some of the plants they recorded... oh Tina is that why we do not carry glass? sorry...

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  5. Herschel took advantage of the oops to grab the English Muffins bag and run to the front and gobble a few....