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Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Driving from Gillette, Wyoming to Great Falls, Montana

September 15 was another travel day, as we drove from Gillette, Wyoming to Great Falls, Montana. We went a little out of our way to follow a scenic route. This one, unfortunately, wasn't scenic enough to make up for the nine-mile stretch that was under construction and unpaved. The speed limit on that stretch was 35 m.p.h., but the road was so rough that we couldn't even go that fast.
We did find a scenic turnout later. We stopped and were rewarded with a beautiful view of Belt Creek Canyon. The stress of the long, rough, slow drive over nine miles of unpaved road melted away; and things began to look up after that.

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Belt Creek Canyon

Later, we came across what appeared to be an old abandoned homestead.

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This appeared to have been the home, with the single requisite tree.

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And this leaning building was some sort of outbuilding.

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A little further down the road, we found this small herd of pronghorn antelope.

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Another roadside scene, with the mountains appearing in the background

Again, further down the road, we drove past an open gate on the left-hand side of the road, through which a llama was coming, followed by what appeared to be hundreds of sheep. A pickup truck was pulled to the side of the road, and a woman was just stepping from the truck into the road to wave her arms in warning to oncoming traffic. We pulled over to the side and turned back to watch the procession.

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Apparently, the llama's job was to lead the sheep from a pasture on one side of the road, across the road, and through the gate into another pasture on the opposite side of the road.

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Once inside the pasture, the llama stepped aside; and the sheep continued their run to some unknown destination.

A little later, we were greeted by a sign, welcoming us to the Blackfeet Nation. The Blackfeet Indian Reservation is 1.5 million acres of panoramic beauty located in the mountains of North America. On the north it borders the Canadian Province of Alberta; and to the south is the Glacier Country Tourism Region. 

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From scraps of rusted automobiles, bits of barbed wire and the stones of an old mission school, Blackfeet tribal member and artist, Jay Laber, has created a statue of two Native American warriors astride their horses at each of the four entrances to the Blackfeet Reservation. These warriors are unique, as each part of the statues and the bases are comprised of materials specific to significant events in Blackfeet history. The bases of these warriors were built with recycled sandstone blocks from the Holy Family Mission, built in the late 1800s, on the Two Medicine River. The horses and riders were constructed of old cars which were destroyed in the Flood of June 8, 1964.

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Not long after entering the Blackfeet Nation, we spotted this colt resting in a pasture near the roadway. Doesn't he look like what you think of when you think of an Indian's horse?

11 comments:

  1. Gorgeous, Linda... Makes me want to go back NOW!!!!! ha.... Seems like the vacation came and went too quickly!!!!! BUT--I'll admit that I am still TIRED this week here at home.... ha

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  2. A hauntingly beautiful landscape. I can see why you were drawn to it.

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  3. such beautiful scenes. the first outlook has such great color. the desolate, abandoned place is again, so beautiful.

    we have friends that live just outside the blackfoot indian reservation. and, yes, they are blackfoot indians. :)

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  4. Enjoyed the tour along the countryside so much! Especially the lone shack with the tree. Nice ending with that beautiful colt. This really makes me want to take a road trip!

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  5. It looks as if your scenic drive was worth it, even with the long stretch of road construction. The llama leading the sheep was interesting. I vaguely remember reading once that llamas made good substitutes for sheep dogs and were also good at protecting sheep from predators.

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  6. That is rather interesting to see a llama lead the sheep like that.

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  7. You visit the most enticing places and are graced with the most interesting events and encounters along the way. That colt is a beauty!

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  8. The Belt Creek Canyon looks wonderful with its rocks, colours and space. And a llama leading sheep from one pasture into another? How surprising.

    I wanted to follow your trip with a finger on a map and to get to know in which part of the USA South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana are located. On that occasion I found out that each of these states (and probably every other state) has its great seal besides a flag. The seals look nice and interesting, are they used in official documents?

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    1. Petra, I've since looked into that llama thing, and it is apparently fairly common to put llamas in with sheep to protect the sheep against predators like coyotes. Llamas seem to be even more effective in that role than herding dogs.

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    2. Petra, I forgot to comment on the state seals. Yes, they are used in official documents. Each state also has a state song, a state flower, a state tree, a state motto, etc. People project great pride in the state in which they were born or live, often engaging in good-natured arguments with people from other states about the benefits of each.

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