We were on our way to Missoula, MT when we heard there was a lot of smoke there. So we stopped short in Thompson Falls, and I'm sure glad we did. And where did we stay? At the athletic field, of course. And we were happy to share it with the local wildlife.
It's a really cute town with lots of cute little houses.
The river was dammed here in 1915. There are a series of community trails around the dam, the remaining falls, and the powerhouse.
The fish ladder, shown here, was not built until 2009-2010. The fish climb 50 feet through 48 pools or "steps." But how do the fish figure out all the turns?!?
Well, there's a map, of course....
Actually, the fish are attracted to current, and the water flow is manipulated so the fish will go up the ladder.
The falls are not what they were before the dam was built, but they are still nice.
The original powerhouse holds 6 generators that were placed into service right after the dam was built. A separate powerhouse with one much larger generator was added in 1995.
We walked on the trail downstream a bit for more nice scenery.
I'm constantly taking pictures of osprey, but this is the first time I got one with a fish! I didn't even see it when I was taking the picture.
After a couple days, we moved on to Missoula. The original brick passenger depot was built in 1910 soon after the railway was completed across Montana. The train no longer goes through town, so the depot is now used for other things.
The Street Fair was going on when we were there, with lots of vendors -
And live music. The music was good, but a little loud.
This little guy had a good idea...
Paddleboarding is big here too, but here it's whitewater.