Thursday, July 22, 2010

Great Falls, Montana

Great Falls is another wonderful Montana town that would be nice to live in if it didn't get so cold in the winter. While the WINs were there, the Charles Russell Museum put on a festival called "Saddles & Spurs." There was free music -

And free activities for future cowboys -

And cowgirls.

Even free food!

We toured the cabin where Charles Russell painted the huge painting that hangs in the Capitol in Helena. That chair doesn't look very comfortable...

Oh good - he had another chair to sit in while painting.

The Russell Museum was filled with his beautiful works.

Lewis and Clark passed through here in June 1805. The previous winter, the Indians had told them about a waterfall on the Missouri River, and that it would require a day's portage. But Lewis discovered that there were actually 5 waterfalls!

This is the first falls he came to that day - the Great Falls. They have since been dammed, but the original falls are preserved.

Two of the other falls have been dammed the same way, one has been buried, and one, Crooked Falls, (shown here) is in its original state.

Instead of a short portage, the 5 falls required a very difficult 18-mile portage, They built wheels and axles for the canoes, but it required 8 difficult trips across rugged hilly terrain to move all the canoes and supplies.

Great Falls has a really nice Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. Inside, from the first floor to the second, is a full-size model of the portage. It was very exact, even including some prickly-pear cactus that tore through the men's moccasins.

I was wondering why one guy only had pants on and another only had a shirt. Hmmmmm...

Of course I had to investigate!


  1. and...what did you find out? Suspense??? Why did the men share the clothes. Inquiring minds want to know!!

  2. Whew 18 miles is a long way to carry all that stuff...Love that art gallery wall and the beautiful logs and chinking (sp?)
    So what was the outcome of the Investigation? lol..that is rather puzzling.

  3. My thinking is that they were just short one costume. I should have asked...

  4. Great Blog posts. Thanks for entertaining and enlightening those of us who are stuck in a house that is not on wheels. Oh, to be in the West again.

  5. Loved the pictures and the history!! The little cowgirls are just too cute and the food just looked so delicious, my tummy is growling now lol

  6. Isn't this a G rated blog? I guess Lewis and Clark were traveling on a low budget... ;c)

  7. I surmise that one fellow lost his clothes and nearly his life while in a fast flowing stream and escaped with only his skin. Those turbulent waters could rip the hide right off of you in rapid waters...His buddy was nice enough to share his shirt.

    I really enjoy your following the Lewis and Clark trail in this manner. I will never be able to do it and so your blog has allowed me to have the next best thing. Thanks.

  8. I visted the Lewis and Clark Interprative Center a few years ago. I certainly gained a new admiration for what those men went through.

  9. Maybe in those days they had to share .. one day you got a top.. one day a bottom, thus you wouldn't get too sunburned any one place! That's my theory.. You will have to let us know Diana.

    Love the pics of the kids .. way too cute.


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