What a beautiful day we had today! I think the high temp was 81, the sun was shining and we had a beautiful blue sky. We got up early enough to get showers, breakfast and exercise out of the way and get out the door by 10:00. We had 80 miles to cover and arrive in time to have lunch and make the boat tour by 2:00.
As we left Great Falls in the direction of Helena, the landscape was pretty much what we have grown accustomed to, rolling hills with mountains in the distance, but as we drove south, those mountains began to get bigger in the windshield.
And we traveled alongside the Missouri river most of the way.
The scenery changed around every bend from soft velvety looking mountains to rock cliffs and boulders or a combination both.
We made it to the proper exit and turned down a narrow, winding road, steadily going downhill toward the river. This is what our destination looked like from a distance.
The tour boat facility is down by the water and we made it there in no time. We parked the truck and went in to buy our tickets, then wait for the tour to start at 2:00. It was around noon when we arrived, so we had some time to kill. There was a covered patio area down by the docks, so we hung out there to eat lunch, take pictures, or read as we saw fit. I had spotted some flowers up by the store, so I retraced my steps to see if I could get pictures to match the brilliant color of the actual flowers. Here they are, and the colors came out great!
I love my new camera! There were flowers down around the dock, so I ventured out to that area to take pictures of the flowers, the tour boat and the lake.
So 2:00 finally arrived and we loaded into the boat, which was filled to capacity. There were May Flies swarming something awful all around the boat. They were in everybody’s hair and quite a nuisance til we got well on our way.
We had a very nice and informative tour guide (and pilot) named Kyle.
He filled us in on everything from wildlife, birds, plant life, fish, forest fires, pine beetles, and of course, Lewis and Clark. The man was a wealth of information! First thing, we headed toward the entrance to the river channel from the lake.
Once in the river, we were immediately treated to various rock formations and sheer rock walls on either side of us that 1500 feet high.
About halfway through our six mile journey down the river, Kyle pulled close to the bank so that we could see the ancient “pictographs” drawn on the rocks by inhabitants of a much earlier time. The two most distinctive figures are a turtle and what is probably a mountain goat with marks above it.
Then more beautiful scenery.
After six miles, Kyle turned the boat around and we were told that the view back down the river is the view that Lewis and Clark saw as they came this way so many years ago. This opening that I’ve depicted in the next six pictures appears to open like gates as we came around a bend. This is why they called this place “Gates To The Mountains”.
Pretty neat, huh? On the return trip to the boat dock, Kyle pointed out what appears to be moss on the rocks, but is not a moss at all, but rather a very rare ROSE! He said that they are scattered along the river and never all bloom at the same time. Sometimes none of them bloom and sometimes one hear or there will be in bloom with tiny purple roses. None were bloomed today, but here they are.
I took a few more pictures on the return trip:
When we returned to the dock, I retired the camera for the day since I had already taken over 140. We loaded up and made the drive back to Great Falls, enjoying the scenery once again. What beautiful country this is!
We threw something quick together for supper and have been lazy ever since. There’s no more new to speak of. Oh, I almost forgot! A couple of days ago, I was looking out the bedroom window and the “resident rabbit” here in the RV park that I see hopping all over the place, happened to be out beside our RV, so I grabbed the camera to get in a little practice. Here is the result:
Isn’t he a cutie? And fat too!
Well, that’s all folks! Tune in next time for another episode of the Breeze, but in the meantime……