The morning started off with a mutual feeling of excitement and grogginess–everyone was up by around 6 a.m. We had breakfast at the hotel restaurant and then all grouped in the lobby. After that we quickly boarded the bus and were on our way to do the first thing on the list-raft down the Missouri River!
At the river, four main groups were almost immediately established: the
girls, the boys, the moms and other women, and the dads and other men.
Later, the girls proved that we could successfully soak every other
group on the river with the water guns conveniently located aboard the
raft. Following a rundown of the safety measures and a distribution of
life jackets, we shoved off from shore and were on our way!
Almost instantly my breath was taken away by the views we saw from the
vantage point of the raft. Cliffs made from the cooled lava of past
volcanic eruptions scattered both sides of the river, and monstrous
mountain cliffs covered in trees rose from the ground. In addition to
geological formations, we saw various animals. I remember two minks, a
couple of trout swimming alongside our raft (sometimes jumping out of
the water), a few butterflies, deer, pelicans, magpies, and my
favorite, some bald eagles. The eagles were among the most majestic
animals I have ever seen, and when one landed on the top of a mountain
it created such a gorgeous, picturesque, postcard-worthy image. In fact,
everywhere you looked there was a beautiful image. There were little
cottages that were tucked away into the mountains, deer peeking out from
groves of riverside trees, and old couples sitting together simply
enjoying the amazing scenery.
Near the end of the rafting journey, we were allowed to jump into the
river and swim around if we wanted to. I decided to go in because I was
already soaked from water gun fights our raft had had with the boys
raft (getting a little more wet wouldn’t really make a difference). The
water was shockingly cold to begin with and at first I thought I was
going to literally freeze into a human ice cube. However, it didn’t take
that long to adjust to the frigid temperature (at one point you just
become numb and stop feeling completely) and soon a bunch of the other
kids and I were happily swimming around in the river.
As our rafting trip came to a close, I started to feel melancholy.
Knowing that one of the activities was almost over made me feel like
everything going on in Montana was happening so rapidly. But, these
thoughts were soon replaced by ideas of lunch and just food in general.
So far, I have been having such a great time in this state and made some
wonderful memories that I will carry with me forever.
Today we did numerous marvelous things. Two things I really loved were
the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and the Giant Springs. At the
Lewis and Clark museum we really learned about the culture of the time
of Lewis and Clark’ expedition, and the American Indians’ culture and
way of life. What really interested me about Lewis and Clark is that
they traveled basically across of all of America. But the courage and
bravery they showed, to travel through freezing cold weather and the
scorching heat really amazed me. Their success relied on the American
Indians: They learned to catch different animals, including fish, and
they learned to recognize plants that were edible and which ones were
not. In addition, their clothing selection changed tremendously: From
wool hats to beaver tails, and from nylon coats to bear skins and
different types of furs. Also through their whole journey they changed
as a whole and individually.
Later that afternoon we visited the Giant Springs.
There I was
fascinated by how the waters were so crystal clear (as you can see in my
picture). Also we learned that those waters are drinkable as regular
water, and about the whole process of purification. We also learned that
right there where the springs are, there is the shortest river in the
world (according to Guinness World Records), the Roe River. So I was
really astonished about how they are able to determine that especially
since it flows into the Missouri River, which is one of the longest
rivers in America. I really feel that the day overall was fabulous, and
I can’t wait to see what else Montana has to offer in the next 9 days.