Posts Tagged With: history

Fort Benton-First Visit: Rain Layover-May 30 to June 1

I arrived at Fort Benton the same day that I left Great Falls. The paddle only took a few hours from Carter Ferry. I knew rain was forecasted, so I planned on staying in Fort Benton for a least a couple of days, which I would have done anyway. This post is a photo story post. I hope you enjoy it.

Carter Ferry is one of only six cable ferries in existence. Another cable ferry is in Virgelle, between Fort Benton and Coal Banks Landing. There are also two others in the area, making four out of the six ferries that are functioning located here in northern Montana.

Carter Ferry

Carter Ferry

I opted to try and set up camp at the boat ramp, rather than a mile downstream at the canoe camp. I was leary about it, but a cop was sitting there so I asked him and he said it would be fine. He said he and the night shift officer would keep an eye on me. Sweet!

I opted to try and set up camp at the boat ramp in Fort Benton, rather than a mile upstream at the canoe camp. I was leary about it, but a police officer was sitting there in the parking lot, so I asked him and he said it would be fine. He said he and the night shift officer would keep an eye on me. Sweet!

This is it, but the inside is cozy and dry. Well, except at 1:50 AM when the darn automatic sprinkler came on for 40 or so minutes. Geez. The last night there I took off the tarp because the storm had passed, but I forgot about the sprinkler. My tent fly got soaked after staying dry through the whole storm. Kinda funny.

This is it, but the inside is cozy and dry. Well, except at 1:50 AM when the darn automatic sprinkler comes on for 40 or so minutes every night. Geez. The last night there I took off the tarp because the storm had passed, but I forgot about the sprinkler. My tent fly got soaked after staying dry through the whole storm. Kinda funny.

Fort Benton's riverside walk is lined with historic information signs for a long ways. It is fun learning about the town's history while walking along the river, which is, of course, where most of the town's historic events took place. That is a walking bridge in the background and has benches and picnic tables on it.

Fort Benton’s riverside walk is lined with historic information signs for a long ways. It is fun learning about the town’s history while walking along the river, which is, of course, where most of the town’s historic events took place. That is a walking bridge in the background and has benches and picnic tables on it.

Here is a view of the riverfront levee from the walking bridge.

Here is a view of the riverfront levee from the walking bridge.

This sweet cafe was right across the street. The waitress was so nice, she let me stay there all day until closing at around 2:00. It was a nice rainy day hang.

This sweet cafe was right across the street. The waitress was so nice, she let me stay there all day until closing at around 2:00. I didn’t stay there all day every day. Just the first day. The other days I left before closing, and I went to the library, too. It was a nice rainy day hang.

The coffee was delicious and so were the breakfasts and lunches. I had an omelette two mornings in a row.

The coffee was delicious and so were the breakfasts and lunches. I had an omelette two mornings in a row.

This is Nikki, my very sweet waitress at the Wake Cup. I wanted a photo of her, for that reason. Unfortunately, it wasn't until I was leaving that I learned she was the ranger in the Breaks National Monument for three years previous. It would have been nice to chat, but she was usually very busy. Very nice, though, and currently the volunteer coordinator for Friends of the Missouri River Breaks.

This is Nikki, my very sweet waitress at the Wake Cup. I wanted a photo of her, for that reason. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until I was leaving that I learned she was the ranger in the Breaks National Monument for three years previous. It would have been nice to chat, but she was usually very busy. Very nice, though, and currently the volunteer coordinator for Friends of the Missouri River Breaks.

River Break was the coolest little bookstore with all kinds of interesting books and used gear, rocks and stuff.

River Break was the coolest little bookstore with all kinds of interesting books and used gear, rocks and stuff.

Tom is the owner of River Breaks. He gave me a great deal on three books. What an interesting and knowledgeable guy. This is a must stop in Fort Benton. Please note, he does no have a hostel up and running, or showers, laundry and shuttle. These are part of his dream.

Tom is the owner of River Breaks. He gave me a great deal on three books. What an interesting and knowledgeable guy. This is a must stop in Fort Benton. Please note, he does no have a hostel up and running, or showers, laundry and shuttle. These are part of his dream. Go for it, Tom!

Side of the Upper Missouri River Museum building, located right next to my camp. Fort Benton was also next door.

Side of the Upper Missouri River Museum building, located right next to my camp. Fort Benton was also next door.

Outside of the Fort

Outside of the Fort

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The levee today with a view of the old bridge, which is now just for walking and sitting and contemplating.

The levee today with a view of the old bridge, which is now just for walking and sitting and contemplating.

The walking bridge

The walking bridge

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The "block" today

The “block” today

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Today

Today

This map shows my route coming up, all the way through the Missouri River Breaks National Monument. (Coal Banks to James Kipp Recreation Area,)

This map shows my route coming up, all the way through the Missouri River Breaks National Monument. (Coal Banks to James Kipp Recreation Area)

It rained and rained and rained. The rain stops eventually, and now it was time to move on down the river. Fort Benton is a town that will warm your heart, and get you interested in the Missouri River and its connection to our country's history and culture.

It rained and rained and rained. The rain stops eventually, and now it was time to move on down the river. Fort Benton is a town that will warm your heart, and get you interested in the Missouri River and its connection to our country’s history and culture.

It began raining again on June 2, the afternoon of the day I arrived at Coal Banks Landing. I have some interesting photos of the paddle down to Coal Banks, the paddlers laying over at Coal Banks, the proprietors of the Virgelle Mercantile Store, and my second visit to Fort Benton when I came with Dominique Liboiron, who came to visit me from Saskatchewan during this next rain delay before starting into the Breaks. Dominique paddled from Saskatchewan, Canada, to New Orleans last summer and winter, arriving just before Mardi Gras. We instantly became friends when he stopped over at Cooper’s Landing, my river hangout in Columbia, Missouri. My next post will share with you our visit together and some additional interesting things we discovered in Fort Benton.

Do what you love, and love what you do!

Live slow ~ Paddle fast (notice that is switching around a little. No, a lot.) 🙂

Categories: Education, Missouri River | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Riches Much Finer Than Gold

The most wonderful thing happened to me at the Missouri Environmental Education Association (MEEA) mini-conference yesterday.  I walked away from the event with the most amazing book; it is a compilation of educational lessons and activities about the Upper Mississippi River. Erin Hilligoss-Volkmann of the Army Corps of Engineers gave a presentation, and I was one of the lucky ones to receive one of three copies she brought along.  I asked her if I could post some things about the book on my blog, and she said, “Yes.”

Cover

This book is the manifestation in the physical realm of what I have been envisioning in my mind as it relates the Missouri River.  Only it goes way beyond what I imagined possible.  It is complete, thorough, comprehensive, beautifully illustrated, and bursting with amazing science and social studies lessons and activities.  I’d say the book is somewhat like a dream-come-true, and gives my trip a rich new perspective.

Well deserved kudos go out to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP) Cultural Resources and Stewardship Mitigation Team in La Crosse, WI, and design team led by Formations.

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Standards

This book is given to facilitators at a workshop in which they are trained to train teachers to teach students about the upper Mississippi River.  Here are the titles to the units:

Unit 1 Introduction to the Upper Mississippi River Watershed

Unit 2 Introduction to Upper Mississippi River Ecosystems

Unit 3 Introduction to Mississippi River History and Culture

Unit 4 Introduction to the Mississippi River at Work

Unit 5 Introduction to A Shared Resource – Our Mississippi River

Here’s a peak at some of the activities:

Watershed

RiverBirds

AncientCivilizations

BlancheLeathers

Navigate

SteamboatEra

ControllingtheRiver

WellRiverCheckUp

Content includes activities relating to river habitats, glacial history, plants, animals, and habitats of the Upper Miss, bird migration, endangered species, Mississippi’s ancient civilizations, Native Americans, settlement and transportation, Underground Railroad, watershed occupations, steam power, Mark Twain, Lewis and Clark, floods, locks, dams, water safety, and caring for the river, among many other subjects.  The book even includes profiles of people important to the river today, such as Michael Clark and his Big Muddy Adventures.

MichaelClark

Sustainability

To be honest, I am quite speechless as I look through this treasure chest of river education tools.  Seems reasonable and logical to have a complimentary Missouri River resource such as this, full of  riches much finer than gold.

Ahhh, the possibilities!

Categories: Education, Reflection | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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