WEEK 5 RUN-WALK ACROSS AMERICA STARTS TOMORROW
Segment 10: Helena MT to Bozeman MT
Segment 11: Bozeman MT to Columbus MT
Segment 12: Columbus MT to Lovell WY
Attention! You unofficially entered “Big Sky Country” once you made your way into Montana. It’s one of the nicknames given to this state. Information is sparse on exactly why this nickname was applied, but one explanation is that it the state is so sparsely populated with so few tall buildings that the sky dominates the vistas. It is roughly divided into a plains and badlands region east of the Rocky Mountains and the western mountainous region. The climate varies with elevation.
According to a Wikipedia entry, Montana contains a portion of Yellowstone National Park (3 entrances) as well as all of Glacier National Park and other federally protected and recognized sites (areas, a battlefield, a monument, and a bison range, describe a few). “Approximately 31,300,000 acres (127,000 km2), or 35 percent of Montana's land is administered by federal or state agencies”. Wow.
The route this week will take you along or near to the Missouri, Yellowstone, and Shoshone Rivers. The Missouri is the longest or the second longest river in the United States depending on which rivers are included in its system (Wikipedia, Britannica).
This river was “believed to be part of the Northwest Passage – a water route from the Atlantic to the Pacific “ before the Lewis and Clark expedition traveled it’s entire length. They could not confirm this legend to be true, finding that no such pathway to the Pacific Ocean existed. Some of the most notable cities of the Great Plains States are found near its banks (Great Fall MT, Bismarck ND, Omaha NE, Kansas City MO, and St. Louis MO)
This great river, which empties into the Mississippi River north of the city of St. Louis, at the border of Missouri and Illinois, “was one of the main routes for the westward expansion of the United States during the 19th century.” Fur trappers and traders first explored it in the 1700s and then pioneer families followed it westward in covered wagons in the 1800s.
The Yellowstone River: Native Americans knew the Yellowstone River as the Elk River and used it for a long time before explorer William Clark and his group returned on it from their expedition in the Pacific Northwest in 1806. The river runs through the Yellowstone National Park and has three dramatic waterfalls (Upper Falls, Lower Falls, and Tower Falls). The majority (96%) of the Park’s land lies in the state of Wyoming, but very small areas also lie in Montana and Idaho. Yellowstone National Park was the first national park in the United States, established March 1, 1872 by Congress to “preserve the wildlife and showcase the unique geothermic features throughout the Park.”
Beneath Yellowstone Lake exists a “super volcano causing large amounts of geothermic activity.” Related to the volcano’s presence are hot springs, mud pots, fumaroles, and more than 300 geysers. The most famous and spectacular include Old Faithful and Steamboat Springs.
The Shoshone River: runs for 100 miles in northern Wyoming, ending when it meets the Big Horn River near Lovell, Wyoming. In 2016 the Shoshone River, east of Yellowstone National Park, “suddenly and without warning started boiling, changed color and began to emit a sulfuric odor on March 25.” Witnesses reportedly feared for their lives at this time. The event, likely related to volcanic activity, lasted four days and led to recall of its history of smelling like sulfur two centuries ago, when it was called the Stinking Water River.
Your WEEK 5 route does not take you near this part of Wyoming where this event occurred, but knowledge of the Park and the geological origins of its famous geysers makes virtual travel through the area rather exciting. You can take a virtual side trip without any danger, to learn more!
6/28/17 NOTE: This week seems to be all about rivers. Although the book and movie scenes of fly fishing in “A River Runs Through It” were said to take place in Montana's Blackfoot River, the filming took place in the Gallatin River, north of the Segment 10 route from Helena to Bozeman MT. This fact was discovered in the article, “18 of the Biggest National Park Scenes and Cameos” by Laura Bailey for The Wilderness Society.
According to the piece, “The film is said to have changed the fly fishing landscape in Montana, and Redford has been quoted as saying he hoped the film would inspire people to keep more western places wild. Not surprisingly, A River Runs Through It won the 1993 Academy Award for best cinematography. “
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Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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