Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Glacier National Park - The pass

Glacier National Park was cold and rainy one day and bring and sunny the next. The day I took the red bus up the Going to the Sun Road it was rainy and dreary but still beautiful.

At the top, there was still snow all around.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Glacier National Park - Wildflower Walk

Here are some of my photos from Glacier National Park.  I have decided to just share the photos from the remainder of my trip with little narration. Enjoy the show.

Old Ranger Cabin

Bear scat on the trail. Here is where I began to sing "Hey Bear, Hey Bear, coming through."

Fantastic Pie served here.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Lewis and Clark

23 June 2013

The park ranger from the Buffalo Jump suggested that I visit the Missouri Headwaters State Park since I was passing by anyway. Meriwether Lewis described in his journal how they determined this to be the source of the Missouri River. They named the three tributaries the Jefferson, the Madeison, and the Gallatin, after the organizers of the expedition: President Jefferson, Secretary of State James Madison and Secretary of the Treasury, Albert Gallatin. July 28, 1805

Missouri is the official name given by the U. S. Geological Survey. It dates back to French explorer Jacques Marquette's journal and 1876 map of the Mississippi River and its tributaries. His Algonquian-speaking guides called the people living at the mouth of the Missouri River "8emessourit" meaning "people with canoes (made of logs)." Over time, the name was simplified to "Missouri" and became the river's name.

The object of you mission is to explore the Missouri river, & such principal steam of it, as, by it's course & communication with the waters of the Pacific Ocean... may offer the most direct & practical water communication across this Continent..." 
from Thomas Jefferson's instructions to Meriwether Lewis, July 4. 1803.

Lewis and Clark camped here on July 25, 1805 along with others in the group and Lewis' dog Seaman who traveled with him from Pennsylvania.

I skipped a few rocks across the river, took some note, ate and then moved onto Crystal Park. It was higher up in the mountain and the views were great.  I really fell in love with Montana.

At Crystal Park I joined other who were looking for Quartz crystals in the soil. I dug around and found a few but neglected to take any photos. The mosquitoes were fierce so I didn't stay long. On a good day and with some time it could be a fun place to dig holes and find more crystals.

I drove back down the mountain a little and found a campsite in the National Forest. I love the national forest campgrounds mostly because they were in expensive and also because they were never crowded and in beautiful locations. I just wish there were more of them in the east.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Madison Buffalo Jump

23 June 2013

There are several Buffalo Jumps in Montana but Madison Buffalo Jump was more or less on the way to Glacier my next National Park. A buffalo jump is a high ledge that the western native people used to help harvest buffalo for the winter.

This cliff was an important hunting tool used for communal bison hunting. Sosoni' speaking (Shoshone) probably used the jump most frequently, but over time many nations have call this area home. For days the entire camp plans and prepares for the upcoming hunt. Tools, weapons and hearths are ready. Ceremonies and personal rituals are performed. Many of the artifact such as arrow and spear heads, and pottery shards were found in the area.

Runners locate the heard and with their bodies covered in wolf skins they crouch and began to move the heard toward the cliff. After witnessing a buffalo drive in 1776, fur trader Alexander Haney wrote, "The Indians' gestures so closely resemble those of the animals that if I had not been in the secret, I would have been as deceived as the buffalo." As they move the heard onto the plateau, hazers hiding behind rocks jump up and begin shouting and waving hide.  Below all eyes are fixed on the cliff ready for the stampede of bison of to fall to their death. Those below others move in to kill any injured animals.

Below the 30 foot cliff women began butchering and skinning the bison into manageable pieces. The large bones were cracked open and boiled to remove the nourishing marrow. Nothing was wasted. I think my camper was parked in one of the butchering sites. The majority of the meat was preserved for winter food. Long strips of meat were hung from pole racks to dry. Once dry, the meat was ground into small bits, mixed with the marrow and often chokecherries, buffalo berries or other fruits dried in the summer. The mixture was then spread out in sheets to dry and then cut into cakes. These energy bars, called pemmican, provided nourishment throughout the winter.

While I was there a park ranger came up the trail and told me the history of the area and offered suggestions for other places to visit while in the area. Besides a man and his son I was the only other person around and they soon left leaving the place to myself. 

As I slowly drove back along the gravel road I noticed these cloud formations. I started to think that this was the place where photos were taken of clouds to study in textbooks. There was so much sky and the clouds kept changing.

Later I wrote in my journal: "I could see forever and what I saw was rolling hills of grass, foothills sage green with that wonderful smell of herb and blue mountains and snow covered peaks. Occasionally cattle dotted the landscape but they could have just as easily been buffalo.  I felt like it had always been this way but now instead of wagon ruts there was a 2 lane road.

"There is more than what you see here." -- Tony Icashula, Pend d'Oreille