Sept 18, 2021

We left camp early so we could try to find a campground in Helena for the night. We wanted to stay in Helena where we would have enough cell reception to watch the BYU vs, Arizona State football game later in the night. We also wanted to be in town so we could attend church on Sunday.

It turned out that there was no need to be in such a hurry. We learned that we could camp at the county fairground and there were plenty of camping spots. 

We spent most of the day in Helena updating the blog and visiting different areas of Helena. The weather was great and we enjoyed the day. Around 2 pm we drove about 20 miles north of Helena to Holter Lake. 

At the lake we took a 2 hour boat tour of the Missouri River upon a boat named the Sacajawea 2. This section of the river passes through the Gates of the Mountains, so named by Meriwether Lewis while on the Lewis and Clark Expedition. In July of 1805 they paddled up the Missouri River and were faced with 1200’ ft high cliffs on both sides of the river. It looked like the river had carved a path thorough the solid rock cliffs. He considered these cliffs the start of the Rocky Mountains and named this area the “Gates of the Mountains”. This section of the river hasn’t changed much over the years and is similar to what the expedition members saw in 1805.

It was a fun boat trip and we saw deer, big horn sheep and many bald eagles. It was a warm afternoon, but wildfire smoke had moved into the area earlier in the day so the air quality was very poor. The boat tour was for 2 hours and well worth the trip.

After the tour we ate dinner at a pizza place and then went back to our camping spot at the fairgrounds. We watched the football game until midnight and then went to bed. It was a very windy night and I got up and moved the van so we weren’t under the big trees. I was afraid that a branch would break with the wind and fall on top of us.

Sept 19, 2021

This morning we went to church in Helena. The church building was very interesting and different that other chapels. After church we drove about 25 miles west of Helena into the National Forest and found a place to spend the rest of the day and camp for the night. A storm came through and we had a few minutes of snow/hail. It is going to be a cold night tonight.

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