Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Great Falls of Great Falls, MT

Great Falls, MT has four beautiful water falls on the Missouri River. It used to have 5 falls, but one is now buried behind Rainbow Dam.
Lewis Meriwether of the "Corp of Discovery" first set eyes on the falls on June 13, 1805. His partner William Clark joined him on June 17, 1805. Lewis and Clark knew about one of the falls, but were quite disheartened when they saw FIVE falls. They figured it would take 1/2 a day to portage their dugout canoes and supplies around ONE set of falls, but it ended up taking them 3 weeks to portage 18 miles around all 5 falls. BUMMER!!!!

This is a picture of the lower falls, or The Great Falls

I cropped off the dam to try to get a better idea of how it looked 205 years ago.

This is the bridge I walked across to get the pictures of The Great Falls

Another view of the above bridge

This building was built by the dam builders to....

...introduce a new, improved way of cooking, with electricity!!!!

This is one of the middle falls, Crooked Falls

This is Giant Spring - Every 24 hours 388.8 million gallons of water bubbles up from these springs, and flows into the Missouri via the Roe River, recognized by the Guinness Book of Worlds Records as the shortest river in the world.

This is Riley the wonder dog

The upper most falls, Black Eagle Falls

Besides visiting the falls of Great Falls, I also visited the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center. The center is sponsored by the US Forest Service. I've traveled around quite a bit in the areas where Lewis and Clark explored waterways looking for a Northwest Passage to the Pacific Ocean. But I never had much interest in their perilous journey until visiting the Interpretive Center. I watched several movies and explored the informative exhibits showing elements of the 28 month, 8,000 mile trek. They began near St. Louis, then traveled up the Missouri River to the Rocky Mountains, crossed the Continental Divide, and proceeded on to the Pacific Ocean. All of this without maps or power boats. They spent their first winter near what is now Washburn, North Dakota, where temperatures plunged to 40 degrees below zero. Their second winter was spent on the Pacific Coast at Fort Clatsop, near Astoria. During the four months they spent there, they had only 4 days of sunshine. Quite an arduous endeavor!!! I have a new sense of awe for these fellows and their crew!!

I also saw a presentation on 14,000 things to do with a 2,000 pound Bison. The speaker didn't actually cover all 14,000, but apparently there is a book that covers them all.


At 3:21 AM, Blogger Barbara and Ron said...

When we were in St. Louis recently, we took in the exhibits and movie on their journey. You are so right about it being an awe inspiring feat. Today we need a GPS just to follow the road!

At 7:42 AM, Blogger Bob Parker & Donna Huffer said...

I did the entire Lewis and Clark trail with the SI's in 2004. My first solo caravan and it was great. The Moose Lodge @ Great Falls is my home lodge, I joined while on that trip. Donna

At 1:50 PM, Blogger sally said...

Sounds fun, Donna, but all that upstream rowing!! And 18 miles of portage!!

At 10:32 AM, Blogger Diana said...

Wow, I didn't know there was so much great stuff in Great Falls. I haven't visited that area yet, but definitely want to now.

At 5:58 PM, Blogger Sarah Shew said...

Great pictures. Very educational and awe-inspiring.

At 7:00 PM, Blogger Brenda said...

Thanks for the pictures of the Falls. When I was there in 2001, all the water was diverted to the electric generating plant, and the falls were dry. It looked so sad. Now I know what it looks like with water! Much better.

At 6:13 AM, Blogger sally said...

Brenda, apparently this was a very wet year and all falls are at their max. It was beautiful!!!


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