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Adventures on the Ranch
Gates of the Mountains
-----This weekend we went on a boat ride called the Gates to the Mountains. To get there we have to drive about 20 miles north of us so we left at 8:00 so we would be there in plenty of time for the first ride and still have time to browse around their gift store.
-----The ride is very historic, it is the exact river Lewis and Clark traveled some 100 years ago....... though things have changes since they came through many of the fancy rocks and cliffs still remain - in fact there are even a few drawings left on the walls from the Indians!! That was really neat to see! There are also some natural faces in the rock cliffs such as a monster that you can see in the picture, and there is also a rhino head.
-----The guide told us that you used to be able to see mountain goats and mountain lions on the banks - but about 6 years ago their numbers started shrinking and now - even though they are still on the little island (IF you consider 30,000 acres little - but by Montana standards it is a small piece of land) you don't see them very often. But we did see some Bald Eagles, which you can see in the pictures. We saw several adults with their white heads and tails and also a baby from this year that doesn't have his adult colors yet! They are the most amazing birds and it was a real treat to see them.
-----Another interesting fact he told us is that Montana is the 4th most likely state to get earthquakes with California, Alaska and Hawaii being the top 3..... that fact just amazed me! Many years ago there was an earth quake right there by the river - up in the mountains - and you can see where the mountain slipped down and formed a new mountain. The quake that caused that was 5 times greater than the one that caused Quake Lake in Yellowstone, and that one was a 7.2. Imagine one that is 5 TIMES greater. The guide said, " If we get another quake like THAT I want to be some where safe - like San Francisco!!" - which made everyone on the boat laugh!
-----Earthquakes in Montana aren't something you really think about - but they are very real! We experienced one several months ago. It was centered around Butte - which is about 60 miles from us - and even up here in the mountains we felt shaking and some things were knocked down in the house and a couple trees fell. Several days before the quake hit here we had a mini tornado and hurricane force winds - so I thought when I heard the roof creak it was a big wind hitting it - but then I noticed my legs were shaking under me and my mom saw stuff moving like pictures!! That was no wind! It lasted for what felt like forever - but was probably only about 10-15 seconds. We found out the next morning it was an earthquake - a 5.6! Not to big - but still scary for us un-earthquake prepared Montanans!! Anyway, back to the boat ride......
-----When you get to the end that is where you see these 2 big cliffs and as you ride the boat back and forth in the little opening it looks like the mountains are gates - opening up and closing - as you can see in the pictures. It is really neat!! And is of course the reason the ride is called the "Gates Of The Mountains".
-----On the way back the guide stops at a little rest area - and there are lots of neat trails leading off of it. We didn't come prepared for a hike, but next year we will go again and pack a lunch and go for a hike there. The boat you go out on only stops for 10 minutes - but if you want to hike you can get a ride back later in the day by another boat. That will be fun!
-----Once we made it back he pointed out one last thing - there are 3 American Flags hanging on the flagpole there - one is the standard American Flag. The other two are 2 of the early flags - one having 13 stars and the other having 15 stars! I thought that was another neat piece of history!
-----The ride was fun and definitely something I would recommend to someone visiting Montana as long as you like water and beautiful scenery!
-----Enjoy the photos!
-----Till Next Time,
-----Leah and Everyone at Omega Shepherds
All Aboard!

"The Gates Opening and Closing"
"A Young Bald Eagle"
"Leaving the canyon"

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