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Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Giant Springs and Waterfalls

We had planned to stay three nights at the Mountain Pine Motel in East Glacier Park; but, since we had seen and done more than we had planned on the day we arrived, we decided to leave a day early. As we were leaving Luna's Restaurant, where we had had breakfast that morning, we met a couple who lived in Great Falls, Montana. When they found out that we were planning to stay in Great Falls that night, they told us that we must go see Giant Springs State Park and the Great Falls of the Missouri.

I have a pretty strong interest in the Lewis and Clark expedition, so their recommendation appealed to me. First, though, we had one more place we wanted to visit in Glacier National Park before we took off for Great Falls.

So our first stop on September 18, was Running Eagle Falls (formerly known as "Trick Falls") in Glacier National Park.

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Running Eagle Falls

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It was formerly known as "Trick Falls" because, in wet seasons, the water flows over the top of the cliff, obscuring the waterfall that comes from inside the cliff.

After visiting Running Eagle Falls, we were on our way to Great Falls, Montana.
 
We were so glad that we had run into the couple who had recommended a visit to Giant Springs. I hadn't even remembered reading about it in the Lewis and Clark Journals. Giant Springs was discovered by Lewis and Clark during their exploration of the Louisiana Purchase in 1805. It is one of the largest freshwater springs in the world, with an average discharge of 156 million gallons per day.

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Giant Springs

Giant Springs empties into the Roe River, which runs a total of 201 feet (61 m) before spilling into the Missouri River. Thus, the shortest river in the world empties into the longest river in North America.

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Giant Springs

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Pelican flying over Giant Springs

After visiting Giant Springs, we set out to find the Great Falls of the Missouri River. The Great Falls are actually a series of five waterfalls, located in a 10-mile (16 km) area of the river. Three of the original falls have been altered with the construction of dams. One, Colter Falls, has been submerged behind the Black Eagle Dam.

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Rainbow Dam and Falls

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Black Eagle Dam and Falls

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Ryan Dam and the Great Falls 

Crooked Falls is said to be the only one of the five falls still remaining in its natural state, but we didn't get to that one. The ones we did see, were suffering from the drought conditions of this past summer and so were not flowing as they most likely would have been during a wetter year. Still, it was a treat to see them and to imagine what they would have been like when originally discovered by Lewis and Clark.

16 comments:

  1. There's just something magical about falling water.

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    1. Yes there is, Stephen. I guess that's why there are so many of us who "chase" waterfalls.

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  2. Linda, I love the first shot of Giant Springs, the place looks so fresh and living.

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    1. Petra, the beauty of Giant Springs surpassed all our expectations.

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  3. i like 'trick falls' the best. how cool is that?!

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    1. Tex, we'd love to see it sometime when the water is coming over the top. But it's beautiful this way, too.

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  4. I am constantly amazed at the beauty which surrounds us. No,I don't live near these places,but still it is part of our beautiful world,created for us to enjoy. I am glad I can enjoy these sights through your eyes.

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    1. Ruth, we are indeed surrounded by incredible beauty. And to think that this is just a shadow of things to come.

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  5. It's cool to be able to retrace historical footprints. And I agree with Stephen.. falling water is indeed magic. Lovely shots, Linda.

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    1. Hilary, it's only been in recent years that I've become interested in Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery. What they accomplished boggles the mind. I know you enjoy reading. Their journals might be something to add to your reading list. :)

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  6. Gorgeous, Linda. Isn't it great to meet folks who give us ideas of where to visit. I was intrigued by Trick Falls. How interesting.... AND--I loved reading about the shortest river in the world flowing into the longest river in North America... Awesome!!!!! History and geography are just so wonderful.

    Cold here this week... We've had a fire in the fireplace all week... LOVE it.
    Hugs,
    Betsy

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    1. Thanks, Betsy. Maybe, when you and George get to Glacier National Park, you'll be able to see the "trick" of trick falls. :) It's cool here this week, too. 'Tis the season, I guess.

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  7. Linda, your shots of the falls are so pretty! And of course I love that pelican. You take the most amazing adventures.

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    1. Thanks, Gail. The pelican shot wasn't as crisp as I would have liked, but I couldn't resist posting it anyway.

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  8. Thanks for telling us about the shortest river in the world. Thanks, too, for the information and photos of Running Eagle Falls. That, too, was very interesting. It looks as if the Great Falls of the Missouri have suffered the same fate as the Falls of the Ohio.

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    1. George, at least the Great Falls of the Missouri are still flowing over their dams. It sounds as if the only thing to see at the Falls of the Ohio are fossil beds. :)

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