Monday, June 8, 2009

Day 6 - Portage of Great Falls and on to Fort Benton

Yesterday, after a brief paddle in the snow, Joe arrived in Great Falls , Montana. In this area, the Missouri River falls over 500 feet in ten miles and in 1805 it took the Lewis and Clark expedition 31 days to portage around the falls and rapids.

Fortunately for Joe, roads, motor vehicles and the help of Norm Miller made the trek much less arduous. Joe probably missed it, but among other attractions, Great Falls is home to the largest freshwater spring in the United States with a flow of over 150 million gallons per day.

While in Great Falls, a photographer from Helena, Jason Savage, met up with Joe. He was able to take some great photographs, I included a few below. (From Top to Bottom: Joe in water outside of Great Falls, Mt; Joe at the portage pulloff in Great Falls, Mt; Joe and Norm Miller; Joe and Jason Savage).

Today, Joe's goal destination is Fort Benton, known as “The Birthplace of Montana”. Steamboats cruised all the way up the Missouri to Fort Benton in the mid 1800’s and the Fort became an important departure point and supply town for gold miners, traders and settlers. Among the many historic and natural beauty sites in the vicinity is the Museum of the Northern Great Plains, where among the displays is a former resident of the Smithsonian, the mounted big bull bison that served as the model for the Buffalo nickel and some National Park Service Badges.

Joe will probably have access to Internet in Fort Benton, so he'll be able to upload some of the photos from the journey thus far. After Fort Benton, Joe will be in the Montana wilderness for a week as there is very little civilization along that stretch of the Missouri. Joe really wanted to give a special thanks to Norm Miller for the portage of Great Falls as well as Jason Savage for the photographs.

Also, feel free to email me questions or comments that I can pass along to Joe, as I'm sure he'd love to answer them.

Paddle on,


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