Thought for the day: Just as converts make the best Catholics, so newcomers make the most rabidly possessive Montanans. Everyone who moves to Montana wants to be the last one allowed in. [Glenn Law]
And skijoing. Ever hear of that? (Me, neither.) As you can see in the picture, in this sport, a horse and rider pulls a skier ... and they maneuver through an obstacle course that includes jumps and gates. Pretty cool, huh? (Actually, pretty cold ...) But it sure sounds like fun!
Okay, a few quick tidbits before we look at some pictures. In 1961, Evel Knievel hitchhiked all the way from Butte to Washington, D.C., while carrying a 54" rack of elk antlers. His goal? To draw attention to ... and end ... elk culling in Yellowstone National Park. This was one of his acts of derring-do that actually paid off. The culling stopped, and he didn't break a single bone. I already mentioned the gold, silver, and sapphires, but how about this? A Montana sapphire is actually included in England's Crown Jewels. And it's the only U.S. gem in the lot. Ever hear of a buffalo jump? Nope, it isn't one of the skijoring obstacles. A buffalo jump was a hunting ploy used by American Indians. Imagine an Indian hunting party chasing some buffalo faster and faster toward a steep cliff. (You see where this is going, don't you?) The buffalo run off the cliff, and voila! Meat for the tribe. Montana's buffalo jump is called Wahkpe Chu'gn, which translates to Too Close For Comfort. There, tourists can imagine what a buffalo hunt was like, while trying their hand at throwing an Indian hunting stick. Canadians are a little more descriptive with the name of their buffalo jump. It's called Head-Smashed-In. I kid you not (And it's okay if you laughed.)
Okay, picture time.
In our virtual tours of other states, we've seen a lot of world's largest stuff. The difference with this world's largest steer is it isn't made of concrete or steel. This was an actual living, breathing behemoth. At 3980 pounds, he weighed in at just under two tons, stood five feet, nine inches tall, and stretched a full ten feet, four inches long. Dubbed Steer Montana, this fella, born in 1923, lived for more than fifteen years, and his taxidermied self is now permanently housed in the O'Fallon Museum in Baker.
Then there's Yellowstone National Park, which straddles the state line between Montana and Wyoming. Would you believe it has more than 10,000 geothermal features? Of course, Old Faithful is the most famous, and that kick-butt geyser erupts about every minute and a half. By the way, Yellowstone was the first National Park in the country.
Technically, Old Faithful is actually located in Wyoming, but still ...
|(Why let a technicality stop us from seeing it?)|
Montana has some neat-looking rock formations. The national monument here is called Pompey's Pillar, and there, you can see ancient Native American petroglyphs, as well as the honest-to-goodness signature of William Clark, of the famed Lewis and Clark expedition. His signature is dated July 25, 1806, and since then, many others have defaced the rock by etching their names into it. (But I didn't think you'd much care that Mary loved Billy in 1890.)
Along Dinosaur Trail, you'll find fifteen museums, in which you can ooh and ah over some of the many fossils found in the area.
|Right on schedule! Ninety-one seconds ...|
|You like ghost towns?|
How cool was that? It'd be pretty easy to get lost in the history of that town, wouldn't it? Or do you prefer a ghost town with more visuals, so you can really immerse yourself in the experience? Virginia City, founded in 1863, still has more than 100 structures, containing artifacts and furnishings, but what it also has is people. There are approximately 150 year-round residents in this ghost town, and I'm thinking it'd be a lot of fun to step back in time with them. Check it out:
WOW! Can you just imagine how this must look in person? This is Glenn's Lake, located at Glacier National Park, along Montana's northern border. The park adjoins Canada's Waterton Lakes National Park, and together, they form the world's first International Peace Park.
|Thar she blows again! (You missed some while you were watching those videos.)|
|Overview of Little Bighorn Cemetery|
The Battle of Little Bighorn took place on June 25, 1876. AKA Custer's Last Stand,
But as the marker above indicates, the actual remains were moved and buried in mass graves near this memorial marker.
And in more recent years, the following sculpture, created by Native American Colleen Cutschall, was added to the battlefield.
As well as some of THESE markers, to remind us that soldiers aren't the only ones who perished in that battle. The words on this marker provide some good persepective, too.
Have you ever seen a tent as cool as this? You can find them at a unique resort called Paws Up. But don't worry; you wouldn't HAVE to stay in a tent. There's all kinds of accommodations there. Wanta know what's unique about this resort? It caters to you ... and your dog. Located in Greenough, this place has 37,000 acres of playground for you and your favorite pup to roam. People and doggie get-togethers and grooming sessions. Wine-tasting parties. In fact, one of the highlights of the year at this place is an annual Wine & Bitch getaway.
Story time: In 1936, with his trusty dog Shep by his side, a sick shepherd went to Ft. Benton to see a doctor. After the man died a couple days later, poor ol' Shep watched men load his master's body into a train. His master's remains traveled back east to relatives, but Shep maintained his vigil at the train station, waiting for his master to return. For five and a half years, he greeted every train. Every day. For five and a half years, he watched for his master to step off of one of those trains. Two and a half years into his vigil, Ripley's Believe it or Not featured Shep's story, and after that, travelers went out of their way to visit Ft. Benton just so they could see this amazing dog waiting at the station to meet their train. When Shep died in 1942, both wire services carried his obituary, and his funeral, attended by hundreds of people, featured an honor guard and pall bearers. The town's mayor even read the poem Eulogy on the Dog in Shep's honor. The faithful dog was buried on the town bluff, looking down on the train depot, and the Great Northern Railroad put up a simple obelisk with a painted wooden cut-out of Shep, which was illuminated at night. Later, the site was renovated, and now a steel figure of the loyal dog stands vigil.
|See him up there on the hill?|
In 1994, the town of Ft. Benton unveiled another tribute to Old Shep. A larger than life bronze sculpture shows him with both feet on a train rail. It's entitled Forever Faithful.
|Talking about faithful ... (I'll stop now.)|
- One may not pretend to abuse an animal in the presence of a minor. (None of that sissy pretend stuff. buster!)
- It's illegal to have a sheep in the cab of your truck without a chaperon. (After all, ewe don't want to risk tainting her reputation.)
- It's a felony for a woman to open her husband's mail. (So she'd better not get caught!)
- It's a misdemeanor to show movies that depict felonious crimes. (They must show a lot of Disney flicks.)
- It's against the law for married women to go fishing alone on Sundays, and for unmarried women to fish alone at all. (I oughta drop a line to the bozo who came up with this one.)
- Seven or more Indians are considered a raiding or war party, and it's legal to shoot them. (But it'd be much more fun to shoot craps at their casino.)
- It's against the law to have more than one alarm clock go off at once.
- In Billings, it's illegal to raise pet rats. (Oh ... darn?)
- And bands who play in clubs where alcohol is served may not leave the stage while performing.
- It's also against the law there to use speed-dial with the city's phone system.
- In Excelsior Springs, it's illegal to worry squirrels. (Better not tell them about the nut shortage.)
- And it's also against the law to throw balls within city limits. (No Little League?)
- In Helena, you mustn't annoy passersby with a revolving water sprinkler. (Oh, but that sounds like so much FUN!)
- And you can't play folf after dark. (That was a new one one me ... folf is Frisbee golf.)
- And you also aren't allowed to throw anything across the street. (Can ya throw caution to the wind?)
- And my favorite one for Helena: A woman can't dance on a saloon table unless her clothing weighs more than 3 pounds, 2 ounces. (Do belts and boots count?)
- And finally, in Whitehall, it's illegal to operate a vehicle with ice picks attached to the wheels. (How about fly swatters?)
Okeydoke, you ready, boys and girls? It's time for (ta-DA!)
The Weirdest News Stories of the Week
Um, sorry, no it isn't. I've run out of time to do research, and haven't come up with much. It's now Thursday morning, and I'm going in for minor surgery in a couple hours, and will probably be in la-la-land for a while afterwards. (Don't worry. Nothing serious. Just getting my esophagus stretched with a balloon.Yippee.) So, you're getting something a little different this week.
A quickie mention of an unusual artist.
It isn't clear whether she designs these things as some sort of artistic statement, or if she actually expects people to put them on their feet. Not ME! (Can you imagine trying to scrub the kitchen floor with those things on your feet???)
Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.