This blog posting is dedicated to our good friend and blog reader Bob M. who grew up in Great Falls and Helena. Bob, you have a really beautiful home state. We are certainly enjoying our time here!
Our current stop was south of the tiny town of Cascade, Montana near the Missouri River about thirty miles south of Great Falls for a six night stay.
This is such a beautiful part of Montana. Interstate 15 goes back and forth over the Missouri River.
One day we went sightseeing and geocaching. We saw lots of fishing and people enjoying the water.
Bill found a geocache located at the 1930 Hardy Bridge which crosses the Missouri River. This bridge was used in the 1987 movie “The Untouchables”. This area was portrayed as Canada in the movie. During filming a sign saying “Welcome to Canada” hung from the bridge. After filming ended they left the sign on the bridge which really confused people traveling through the area! The sign is gone today.
On Sunday, July 19th we took a two hour boat trip with the Gates of the Mountains boat tour company. The marina is located on the Missouri River in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains between Helena and Great Falls.
In July of 1805, the Lewis and Clark Expedition traveled down this section of the Missouri River, marveling at the limestone cliffs at a height of 1,200 feet. The Expedition was traveling against the current as they sought the headwaters of the Missouri River.
From a distance, the bends in the waterways made the great stone walls appear to block passage only to then open up like gates as the expedition approached.
Meriwether Lewis wrote in his journal, “I shall call this place: Gates of the Mountains”.
Our boat was named Sacajawea 2. This tour boat company has been giving tours for over 100 years and the two hour tour was a great deal at only $14 a person (senior price). We saw four eagles, a huge eagle nest and bighorn sheep.
This actual boat was used in the Clint Eastwood 1974 movie “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot”. In the movie the boat was named “Idaho Dream” a mailboat on the Snake River. Several scenes were filmed on our section of the tour. As the guide pointed out the Snake River does not look like the Missouri River.
We also saw a Native American pictograph of a bison which was hard to see in the distance.
We also have rock formations that appear to be various animals.
We stopped briefly at the Meriwether Picnic Area, named for the area where the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery camped on July 19,1805, exactly 215 years ago on the day we took the boat trip.
One evening from our campsite we could see a doe and her fawn. We love Montana!
Next up: Great Falls
You’re making me homesick… friends of mine owned the gates of the mountain marina. probably still do. The family name is Tubbs. We had a great view of the Sleeping Giant from our back yard windows. Also a view of Mt Helena from the front yard windows. Must be a reason why Thunderbolt and Lightfoot is one of my favorite movies…
Another memory… my uncle used to be one of the tour train drivers summers…
We have wonderful friends from our early Air Force days that live in Anaconda, near Missoula and Butte. When we visited them out there I said, “I can see why they call this ‘Big Sky Country.'” Am sure you all probably feel the same. It i beautiful. Our son, Joey has a place near Glacier National Park where they plan to retire.