Helena, MT High 91 Low 58
It has been probably been 35 years since I took the Gates of the Mountains boat tour on Holter Lake. I was definitely looking forward to sharing the fun with my classmates and giving Jim a chance to take a boat ride with no fishing allowed. lol
The Gates of the Mountains has been a tourist attraction since the period 1886 to 1906, when the steamboat Rose of Helena traversed the Missouri River through this area. Steamboats no longer run on the river but there are three boats operating to take you on a beautiful ride on the lake.
Meriwether Lewis named this area on July 19th, 1805: This evening we entered the most remarkable clifts that we have yet seen. These clifts rise from the waters edge on either side perpendicularly to the hight of 1,200 feet. Solid rock for the distance of 53/4 miles. I entered this place and was obliged to continue my rout until sometime after dark before I found a place sufficiently large to encamp my small party; from the singular appearance of this place I called it the gates of the mountains.
This canyon was created by the Missouri River flowing through the limestone rock. Althought the Missour River once ran swiftly through the Gates of the Mountains, Holter Dam (built in 1918) drastically reduced the flow of water.
The monster of the Gates
There are also pictographs on the cliffs
THE MANN GULCH FIRE
The following is taken from the US Forest Service website:
The Mann Gulch fire was first officially reported around noon on August 5, 1949, in Montana's Helena National Forest. Responding to the fire, the Forest Service dispatched fifteen smokejumpers from Missoula. The smokejumpers were part of a relatively new Forest Service program.
The fifteen smokejumpers landed at Mann Gulch about a half-mile away from the fire. There they met James O. Harrison, a fire guard from the nearby Meriwether Canyon Campground. Ironically, Harrison had quit the smokejumpers the year before because of the danger. As the men headed down the gulch towards the Missouri River, high winds caused the fire to suddenly expand, cutting off the men's route and forcing them back uphill. Later studies estimated that the fire covered 3,000 acres in 10 minutes during this blow-up stage.
To escape the advancing fire, now less than 100 yards away, crew foreman R. Wagner "Wag" Dodge ordered the men to drop their equipment and run back up the steep, rocky hillside. As the men retreated, Dodge stopped to set a small escape fire, creating a burned-over area that the fire would bypass. He directed the group towards this safe area, but due to the reigning confusion the rest of the men continued up the hill. As the massive fire overtook the group, two of the smokejumpers, Walter B. Rumsey and Robert W. Sallee, were able to find shelter by climbing inside in a small crevice in the canyon's rock wall. Of the 16 men on site, Dodge, Rumsey, and Sallee would end up as the only survivors.
The events of Mann Gulch greatly influenced the future of wildfire suppression and fire research. The Forest Service designed new training techniques and implemented additional safety measures for its firefighters. The agency also increased emphasis on fire research and the science of fire behavior, developing new firefighting techniques and equipment in the hopes of never repeating the tragic events of August 5, 1949.