Saturday, May 10, 2014

Missouri Headwaters: Happy in Montana

Bleu Horses
Last weekend took me to Billings and some good social time . On the way back I headed to Helena for a test . I took the back roads after leaving I 90 and headed north on Highway 287 .  There is a whole hillside full of metal sculptures of horses. It is really quite striking . There is more about these lively four    leggeds at distinctly montana : Bleu Horses . There are 39 steel horses designed by sculptor Jim Dolan .  This display is about 3 miles north of Three Forks.
Ever present clouds 
 I happen to enjoy the open spaces and big sky in this area. This area being pretty much all of the West but Montana in particular. I would suppose the lack of people and the endless miles of highway might make some nervous. It is a sheer delight .
Heading across the tracks to the York Island area on the Missouri
 Heading up the highway I see another sign about the Lewis and Clark route. I decide to check it out but just barely missed getting across the tracks before one of the BNSF trains came chugging north . A five minute wait and then I am up across the tracks heading for the York Island camp ground and fishing access. The York Islands are named after one of the members of the Lewis and Clark expedition.  He was referred to only "York" in the journals and was a skilled black slave who contributed much to the success of the expedition by hunting and fishing . He was also able to win the respect of the native peoples they encountered with his unusual appearance . Many of the Native American people had not ever seen an African American. He asked for his freedom upon  finishing the trip however it took 5 years for this to come about . You can read more about York's life here .
Missouri Head waters 
 There is something magnetic about water. Moving water is particularly attractive. Many folks consider the confluence of the Jefferson, Gallatin and Madison rivers at Three Forks to be the beginning of the Missouri but others argue for the Brower's Spring area that feeds the Jefferson River . An interesting topic to research with more information at the Montana FWP Missouri source article .
Train bridge across the Missouri River 
 One of the great things about Mountana in May is the greening of the pastures. I saw more than one happy cow and frolicking calf along the way . I took a 5 mile detour down a dirt road to get another close up of the river .
Happy cows

More Missouri River views 
A gorgeous valley is  tucked away by the river with the Mountains keeping close watch . Rushing rivers and a couple of osprey nests are spotted along the way . Down by the river there were snow geese winging above the beach. It was a nice drive all around.
Nearing Home on the Swan
After a 3 hour drive from Helena I reach the Swan Lake . Not too far to home now. There has been mostly sunny skies and it has been a safe trip . You can't ask for more.

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