Friday, June 22, 2007

More Montana Facts & Trivia

In my previous post, I offered some well-known (and some little known) facts about the state of Montana. There are few places on this planet that offer more to do, see and experience - and does it in such a wonderful way. Today I'll share some more MT minutiae that will cause you to appreciate America's treasure.

Whether you want to experience a world-class rodeo or ride white-water rapids, you can do it all in Montana. They call it "Big Sky Country", but not everything in Montana is big. Were you aware that we hold the title of the world's shortest river? Yup, the Roe River's (near Great Falls) length varies from 58 to 200 feet. The source for this small river is Giant Springs, the largest freshwater spring in the United States. And another thing, did you know...

Speaking of natural water, Montana's rivers and streams provide water for three oceans and three of the North American continent's major river basins.

Montana is the only state with a triple divide allowing water to flow into the Pacific, Atlantic, and Hudson Bay. This phenomenon occurs at Triple Divide Peak in Glacier National Park.

Glacier National Park has 250 lakes within its boundaries.

The Going to the Sun Road in Glacier Park is considered one of the most scenic drives in America.

Only one North American gemstone is included in the Crown Jewels of England and that is the Montana Yogo sapphire.

The highest point in the state is Granite Peak at 12,799 feet.

Montana's official animal is the grizzly bear.

The state motto "Oro y Plata" means gold and silver.

The name "Montana" comes from the Spanish word mountain.

The state flower is the Bitterroot (Lewisia rediviva).

The state tree is the mighty Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa).

State bird is the Western Meadowlark.

No you know why they call Montana the "Treasure State". Discovering everything that Montana has to offer could take a lifetime. From dinosaur digs to sky diving, you'll have a fantastic visit... I promise!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Travel Montana - Get the facts!

Summer is a busy time for millions of tourists who flock Montana to see our magnificent scenery and experience things one can only dream about in most parts of the country. If you are planning to vacation here, you are already aware of many of the things that make Montana such a unique destination, but...

I'll bet there are a few more interesting things about our beautiful state that you didn't know. As an example, did you know that geographically speaking, Montana is the USA's fourth-largest state, while our population is fourth-smallest? The 2005 resident population estimate was 935,670.

Oh sure, we have Glacier National Park and Flathead Lake that I write about every week, but here's some more facts about our state that you may not know:

  • In 1888 Helena (state capitol) had more millionaires per capital than any other city in the world.
  • 46 out of Montana's 56 counties are considered "frontier counties" with an average population of 6 or fewer people per square mile.
  • An average square mile of land contains 1.4 elk, 1.4 pronghorn antelope, and 3.3 deer.
  • No state has as many different species of mammals as Montana.
  • Montana has the largest migratory elk herd in the USA.
  • Elk, deer and antelope populations outnumber the humans.
  • Montana has the largest grizzly bear population in the lower 48.
  • Moose, numbering over 8,000 today, was thought to be extinct in the Rockies south of Canada in the 1900s.
  • Miles City is known as the Cowboy Capitol.
  • Virginia City, established in 1863, is considered to be the most complete original town of its kind in the United States.
  • The Old West can be rediscovered at the Charles M. Russell Museum Complex in Great Falls.
  • George Armstrong Custer and his troops made their last stand at Little Bighorn.
  • Montana is home to seven Indian reservations.
  • Montana only has one Area Code
  • Montana holds the world record for the greatest temperature change in 24 hours. In just a day's time the temperature rose a whopping 103 degrees Fahrenheit.

Come back tomorrow for part II of this posting. I'll bet there's a few more things about this Big Sky Country that you don't know!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Man injured by grizzly

I know they look cute...

This video was filmed last week in my neighbor's back yard. A cute little black bear just begging for someone to come closer and pet it or give it food.

WRONG! They are bears... wild animals who can feed on YOU! Just this week another poor soul wandered too close to a grizzly and her cubs and was mauled. In Grand Teton National Park, a grizzly bear attacked a man today, causing moderate injuries, after the man apparently surprised a female bear and three cubs feeding on an elk carcass. Read the story here...

The message my friend is "don't get close to the bears"! They are magnificent, beautiful creatures, but they see you as food or a threat - not a friend who can pet or feed them. While you hike Glacier National Park's trails, remain aware - and if you do see a bear, give them a wide berth.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A Flathead Beacon?

There are no lighthouses on Flathead Lake, but there is a "Flathead Beacon".

A new online & offline publication is available to Western Montana's greater Flathead Valley. According to their mission statement, "The Flathead Beacon is devoted to delivering thought-provoking news and commentary to the greater Flathead Valley. Printed every week in tabloid form and updated daily at, the Beacon encourages its readers to participate in discussions about their valley".

The Beacon was delivered to our home last month, which was how I first heard about it. Then this morning, I received a Google alert regarding a story about "Fishing Without Barriers Day", and the source was the Beacon.

Now that I had a link to their online offering, I spent some time visiting their site. I loved it! They do a splendid job of keeping up with what's going on in the Flathead and provide a quick reference for entertainment and things to do, along with light and interesting commentary. The seem to do a good job of following local news and stories of interest to citizens. I recommend you pay the Beacon a visit and add them to your Favorites - you'll probably find them a good source for what's happening in our beautiful valley.

Also, they encourage the community to get involved and comment on stories and add your 2-cents where you feel its needed. Visit the Flathead Beacon here...

Ponder this aside....
Why do we say "put your two cents in"?

But it's only a "penny for our thoughts"?
.....Where's that extra penny going to?

Monday, June 04, 2007

Boating on Flathead Lake

Won't you join us...

Sunday was an absolutely beautiful day to experience Flathead Lake the BEST way... by boat. Readers of this blog know that I believe that Flathead Lake is probably the finest lake in America (and yes, I am partial). For any of you who might doubt that claim, I invite you to climb aboard our boat and join us for a day on the lake.

It was a magnificent day. The weather was perfect, the water was calm and the scenery breathtaking. Blue skies, puffy white clouds and snow still clinging to some of the peaks made for a photographer's delight. I am not a professional photographer and our movie was shot from a moving boat - AND we didn't do but one take as we cruised from Somers Bay to Woods Bay on the eastern shore. So if you find fault with some of the jerky film.... at least the price of admission was fair.

I made a few feeble attempts at fishing, but was not rewarded for my efforts. When the depth monitor & fish finder showed some activity, I dropped a line and hoped that a hungry fish would take my lure, but it was not to be. Fishing on Flathead usually requires more attention than I was willing to devote Sunday.

Read more about our weekend excursion on Flathead Lake...