My blog title is Mountain Beach Mama, and I state over and over how much I love the beach, the ocean. Today I am going to talk about rivers. You may be familiar with a book, ‘A River Runs Through It’ by Norman MacLean. I live in the town that the river runs through. Growing up I thought everyone’s town had a river running through it.
The Clark Fork has its headwaters are in Silver Bow Creek near Anaconda Montana. It flows west through Missoula to Lake Pend Oreille. At Missoula the Blackfoot River joins the Clark Fork near Milltown and Bonner. The Bitterroot joins the Clark Fork and the Clark Fork makes it way to the Columbia. The Columbia ends up in the Pacific. I am setting the background, and I will get around to my point. Years ago I read ‘Indian Creek Chronicles: A Winter Alone in the Bitterroot Wilderness. Pete Fromm (the author of the book) spent 7 months in the Bitterroot Selway Wilderness guarding salmon eggs. Once those eggs hatched the salmon made their way to the Pacific.
Imagine if you could float along with those fish on their long swim. What would you see? Where all would you travel? I haven’t really read much about Lewis and Clark, but imagine their trip. They were the first white men to travel from the Mississippi to the Pacific.
Rivers are road ways. They were the first Interstate highways. They connect us in so many ways. Water is one of the essentials of life. My daughter posted a link to an article about Montana Craft Beers needing pure Montana water. The Butte mines and the Anaconda Smelter sent tons of toxic waste down the Clark Fork. At one time the nation’s largest Superfund sight was the Clark Fork River to the Milltown Dam. That dam was removed a couple of years ago, but before the dam could be removed they had to remove tons of toxic waste. That dam was the one thing protecting the rivers running west to the ocean from massive pollution. If you want to more know more about the removal project I will post a Wikipedia link to start you on your way. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milltown_Reservoir_Superfund_Site
We humans have not proven to be the best caretakers of our precious earth. I started out thinking about everything you would see floating down a river. The towns you would pass through, the scenery along the way. That morphed into how we care for our rivers.
Wildlife use those rivers both to drink the water and to travel along the banks. We have had several bears stop by town for a quick ‘feed’. They wander down the river, and we look like a good stopping place.
Rivers are a rich part of the earth. They are often called inland waterways. That is exactly what they are. Glacier Park has Triple Divide Pass. It is the world’s only triple divide point. Water that falls at the summit flows to the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Arctic (via the Hudson Bay). Another Wikipedia link
One think blogging does is open my mind to new avenues of thought. I hope you enjoy the ride. I will leave you with some river photos.