Tuesday, March 8, 2016
2016's First Adventure: Great Falls
Life is changing! The summer of 2015, I found my life derailed. Normally, I love going on tons of adventures. However, my travels became very minimal this past year because my daughter was right in the middle of her mental illness and my husband left much of the summer for military duty. Struggling with my own depression, the few adventures I took always held a tinge of sorrow. Now, my feet are itching to find new places to explore. With Madelle conquering many of her challenges, I am able to resume my exploration of the world, well at least the state of Montanan. In preparation, I bought a "Back Roads" calendar that I look at every day to inspire me to take the road less driven. I also bought a travel book for my state. With the weather being so warm, I have already begun with my first weekend adventure.
For years, I have taken the interstate in a north eastern direction to visit my mother-in-law, go shopping, attend the theater, or go to football or softball game. Every time when I pass a couple of off ramps, I am reminded that I need to stop and see some sights. For a good eighteen years, the First Peoples Buffalo Jump has called for me to come see the sights. I had never been to a buffalo jump. I can say I have now and I plan to go back.
Since I left later in the day, I only had about an hour and a half to look around. I will go in the morning next time. I stopped first at the interpretive center. I chatted a bit with the center's clerk and asked a few questions. I wandered through the displays, touching the soft curly hair of the stuffed buffalo and the soft teepee hide. I gazed at the stuffed hawk and owl. A stuffed rattlesnake caused me to cringe. Once outside, I walked a short distance to take a few pictures of the cliff from a distance. Now, there is a three and a half mile trail for the visitors, but I didn't have enough time for that before the gates closed. I opted instead to drive to the top. What a beautiful view! I took the stairs down the jump, getting a nasty little sliver from the railing. I laughed at the adorable prairie dogs as they scampered around. Though I wasn't inspired by a story like I had hoped, I enjoyed the afternoon of snapping pictures.
My next adventure the following day was to walk a section of the river trail in Great Falls. Normally, I am too busy with other plans to enjoy the trail. I chose a section with the intent to take pictures of the first set of waterfalls called Black Eagle Falls. Again, I plan to take a day trip or two this summer to hike other areas of the trail. I passed some other hikers, but I the traffic was relatively light. The wind whipped around and the clouds kept the air crispy. As I neared the falls, I marveled at the sound of rushing water. I also loved the feel of the mist in the air even at such a long distance. I believe no matter where I go, my favorite set of waterfalls will always be the Kootenai Falls where I grew up. Nevertheless, I will say that the Black Eagle Falls are gorgeous.
I ended my weekend with taking a short walk in town. I wanted to see a little of the art I read about. My time was short because I scheduled time with my mother-in-law for my last day. I did have time to enjoy the Canadian Geese and a couple of squirrels. Three pieces of art were in along the section I walked. I loved the fish. Again, I will explore more later on this year. In fact, I might just run over there again later this month to take the MIL out to lunch. I have this feeling I need to start saving money for gas. My little Focus is going to get some miles put on the speedometer.