Monday, October 17, 2011

Kootenai Falls & Ross Creek Cedars (Furthur Megavacation Day 3)

Three squirrels were running figure eights around the trunk of a tree chasing after each other at the KOA.  It was hilarious.  Every day should start with such a heart-warming sight!
Day three was possibly the most beautiful driving day of the trip.  The mountains, and scenery in general, were epic.  I feel that it might have been topped by the drive through Grand Teton and Rocky Mountain National Parks, but it is a close call.  There is just so much natural beauty in this land!
McGregor Lake...
  
...a  lovely place to stop for lunch...
...and let Matt's satchel of special stones absorb some good sun.  I made the collection of stones especially for the road trip to be Matt's Furthur Megavacation magical talismans.  We picked up the pouch at a neat-o rock shop in Bynum, MT on day two.
  
My first glimpse at the increible Kootenai Falls.  We hadn't specifically planned on stopping here, but when we saw the sign we couldn't just pass by!  Especially since neither Matt nor I had been on a suspended bridge before!
These waterfalls are sacred to the Kootenai people. 
They evoke a quiet centeredness in the viewer with the majestic power of those rushing green waters.
  
Ripples from a shore long vanished are carved into stone.  I thought that was incredibly fascinating.
 

Our first walk on a suspended bridge (Think: Indiana Jones).  Freaky and exhilarating!
Matt walked to the end quite fast.  I was taking my time as it made the bridge sway a lot less!
The view from directly over the river was worth the heart palpitations though!
Remarkably green waters.
 
Don't I look a bit terrified?!  I am not much of a fan of heights over water, especially when those heights are swaying back and forth with each of Matt's thunerous steps!  "Can't you walk more gently!?!"
This was an unexpected high point of the entire trip.
The Ross Creek Giant Cedars Natural Area had been on our To-See list for about four years....ever since we first heard there were giant trees in Montana.  We were fortunate enough to see the Redwoods in California last summer and though not nearly as large the Ross Creek cedars are very reminiscent...and a lot closer than California.  That said, they are about as far from Billings as you can get while still staying in the state.  Hence, it took us four years to finally manage a trip up to see them.  Turns out they were even more amazing than we'd hoped.
It is practically a rainforest in there!  Moss and ferns covering everything!
Tiny, moss-lined bird's nest tucked into a crack in the bark.
 
 
 
 
 
 
At the top of the bottom (roots).
A conjoined twin cairn.  I'd never seen that before.
There was a whole collection of cairns.  I really enjoy finding cairn fields like these.  They seem to satisfy the human desire to leave a mark on a place, but with the transient, impermanence of nature.
The cairn on the right is easily the largest I've ever seen.  It is 29 stones high by our count.  Boy, whoever added 29 was brave...
One seriously happy woman right there. 
It was getting stormy and dark again so we left the big trees and returned to the Bad Medicine campground.  There were two loops of campsites at this place and there was only one other camper.  We each had an entire loop to ourselves!!  There are some real advantages to camping out after Labor Day!
My backwoods gourmet breading eggplant for frying.
Mmmmmmmm.......what a greasy, tasty, wonderful way to end a day in the woods.

6 comments:

  1. Those Falls look amazing!!! Thanks for sharing your awesome adventure.

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  2. Amazing! You guys clearly were having the time of your lives as evidenced by your happy faces! Love seeing everything you have to share from the trip.

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  3. What an AMAZING Adventure you 2 have had. Perhaps one day Scott and I will be able to travel that far North and West.

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  4. Fabulous! I can see why those falls are sacred. Even in photos the majesty is there.

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  5. Amazing, gorgeous, fabulous. All perfect words to describe the sights and experiences of these incredible places my friends. Both the trees and the falls were nearly overwhelming in their majesty and power.

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