The western half of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges, while the eastern half is characterized by western prairie. Montana also has a nickname BIG SKY COUNTRY. Agriculture and Tourism are major contributors to the state economy. Montana is larger than Japan and the 4th largest state in the USA after Alaska, Texas, and California. Montana has some 3,000 named lakes and reservoirs. Montana also has the largest Grizzly population in the lower 48 states.
Montana has seven Indian reservations. Approximately 63% of all Native people live off the reservations, with the largest concentration of urban Indians living in Great Falls. We were told as many as 275 different tribes lived in Montana. We visited one, the Crow Indian reserve in Crows Agency during their yearly festival what includes Dance, Rodeo, Music, and a grand parade.
The Crow (Apsaalooke) tribe of Indians has a population of around 11000 of which around 8000 live on the Crow Indian Reservation. This reservation is the largest of 7 in Montana and covers 2.3 million acres in Southern Central Montana. Crow Agency is called the Tee-Pee Capital of the world. We were lucky to attend the Crow Fair Celebration as it is the largest Native American Event in Montana. The event attracts more than 50000 spectators and participants.
The event includes many cultural activities throughout the day and night. The daily evening grand entries and the morning parades provides the beauty of all tribes in attendance. The different dance styles during the Pow Pow are amazing to watch. For me the highlight was the Rodeo, Bull riding, bucking Horse riding, Steer roping, Team Roping, Tie down roping and in particular the Indian Relay horse races.
INDIAN RELAY HORSE RACE.
Teams consist of one rider, three horses, two holders and a mugger. The race starts in front of the grandstands, with a standing start. Riders make one lap around the track; the rider hops off the first horse and jumps on the second horse in a dazzling display of athleticism. This is repeated when he hops off the second horse and jumps on the third horse. All this bare back. It is the mugger’s job to catch the rider’s horse. the holders restrain the other two horses. Four to six teams enter the arena portion of the track per heat. Two horses and their holders head for the rail to wait their turn at the action. The starting horses, riders and muggers line up in the arena centre,
In all a great weekend with great company. Ton and Chantal came over from South Dakota and Martin and Bianca came in from Canada on their way to the Burning Man Festival. We also received a lot of information from Ton and Chantal who had just visited Mt Rushmore and the Badlands area. After saying goodbye on Sunday, we continued to the Beartooth Ranges.
The Beartooth Pass is at the summit of the scenic 110KM byway drive from Red Lodge Village in Montana to the eastern entrance of Yellowstone National Park. The pass elevation is just under 3400 meters before beginning your descent on the west side. The road is the highest road in both Wyoming and Montana. The Beartooth Plateau is the largest continuous land mass over 3,000 m high in the continental United States. Granite Peak at 3901 meters is the highest point in Montana. In total the area has over 25 peaks reaching over 3700 meters.
The Beartooth Highway is a breathtaking scenic drive that winds through the mountains of Montana and Wyoming. Unfortunately for us it was not, from 37 degrees and blue sky the day before it was cloudy, and we encountered wet snow on the top with just a few degrees Celsius. That night we bush camped on the west side of the mountain and the weather was atrocious as the rain pelted down and the wind at time was gale-force.
Clary was happy that we had to stay inside due to the poor weather as the local ranger advised us of Grizzly bears, Lynx, Wolves, Cougars, Bisons and Elk roaming around in the mountains.
TILL NEXT TIME FROM YELLOWSTONE and TETON NATIONAL PARKThis entry was posted in Latest Update