Saturday, June 25, 2011

Big Timber, MT to Columbus, MT -- 42 miles

Today we travel from Big Timber, MT to Columbus, MT...a short riding day of only 42 miles. We travel through Graycliff (population 56) and Reed Point (population 185) before arriving in Columbus (population 1,748). The terrain is very flat so many riders are leaving later and enjoying a few extra hours of sleep.

I went to the Crazy Mountain Museum which was just on the outskirts of Big Timber, MT. Captain William Clark and the Corps of Discovery were homeward bound when they rode horseback along the north side of the Yellowstone River into Sweet Grass County on July 16, 1806. Beneath snowcapped mountains, grasses were high and flowers blooming. Today, gazing from the Lewis and Clark Bicentenial Garden at the Crazy Mountain Museum, the view is of the Yellowstone Valley and the Crazy Mountains. Visitors are told to carefully look northwest for a spot where cottonwood trees trail a small creek [Little Timber Creek] down the base of the mountain to the river. There, with abundant water and lush grass for the horses, Clark and his tired travelers camped.

Informational Sign - The Lewis & Clark Expedition
Informational Sign - A Busy Three Days in Sweet Grass County
Informational Sign - "...All the blooms..."
Informational Sign - Clark Camps at Little Timber Creek
Informational Sign - Clark the Cartographer
A Norwegian Store-house on the Museum grounds
The one room school house on the grounds of the Museum
The Schoolhouse Sign
Informational Sign - Crazy Mountain Museum
A teepee on the grounds of the Museum
Bellows that were used on a local ranch and donated to the Museum

From the museum I went back under the I-90 overpass, followed the I-90 Business Loop back into Big Timber, and made a right on Hooper at the IGA sign and on the corner of West 3rd and Hooper there is a colorful mural depicting the Corps' eastward journey on the north side of the Yellowstone River.

[Picture is missing because for some reason it was not on my camera when I downloaded photos to post to this blog....I have no idea what I did wrong; I know I took a couple of photos...]

Next I turned left on West 3rd and went to McLeod Street and turned right. I continuted down to 8th Street and the Lions Club Park. There is a large stone marker on the corner of McLeod near 9th Street, honoring Clark's historic journey through Sweet Grass County.
Captain Clark led a band of 12 through Sweet Grass County, including Sacagawea and her 17-month old son, Pomp. They brought with them 49 horses and a colt, and as they rode they scanned the landscape for large cottonwoods. From these mighty trees they hoped to fashion wooden boats sturdy enough to withstand the churning waters of the Yellowstone and transport them safely downstream and home.

[Picture is missing because for some reason it was not on my camera when I downloaded photos to post to this blog....I have no idea what I did wrong; I know I took a couple of photos...]
Then I went back to I-90 Business / SR 191 and found this historic marker about the Bonanza or Bozeman Trail.
 The Bonanza or Bozeman Trail Sign. I have no idea why this photo was on the camera but the 2 before it are missing...obviously I am technically challenged.

Following the Frontage Road out of Big Timber, MT for almost 9 miles you come to the Prairie Dog Town State Park.
Lewis and Clark's discovery of the new species which we call the prairie dog took place at the beginning of their journey [Sept. 7, 1804 in Boyd County, Nebraska] Clark would have seen many of the little critters as he passed through Sweet Grass County. In fact, this prairie dog town is very similar to the one Clark and Lewis first observed.
The first "burrowing squirrel of the prairies", as Clark called the newly-discovered creature, was caught and promptly "killed and cooked for the Corps dinner." Later the men dug down six feet, trying to obtain a live specimen, but had no luck. Then they tried flooding; persisting all day until they finally flushed one out alive. The hapless captive survived another seven months and a journey of 4,000 miles before arriving in Philadelphia in April 1805, to be displayed in Independence Hall.
 You can just see him in the upper right quadrant...
The Prairie Dog
 Sociology of Towns
 A Precarious Life

This heritage site was a result of of nephew's interest in the event and it took 71 years for him to solve the mystery,

Arriving in Reed Point, MT [population 185] I found the town having a yard sale and the 4H club was selling lemonade and hamburgers. Several of the riders partook of the offerings...I declined as I was still full from last evening's Prime Rib dinner at The Grand, in Big Timber, MT.
Much of the town has not changed in many, many years.
But you can see modern amenities all over...
Once again I just can't get over how beautiful the scenery is, so I am posting a few more shots just so that I can remember.
On the way to Columbus, MT. As we head east, the mountains that have been in our view for the past several days are no where to be seen.
About 9 miles outside of Columbus, MT I got a picture of Bill K and Rich G enjoying the ride.
Just outside of Columbus, MT, the Yellowstone River, which we have been following all day from Big Timber to Columbus, is over its banks and running swift.
The flooding is widespread, but as of yet has not caused any detours.

Tomorrow has us travelling from Columbus, MT to Billings, MT.

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