Thursday, July 9, 2009

Into Montana

As a student in - was it junior high or high school, I can't remember now - taking American History, all I remember now is how much I disliked the class. I came up with any number of ways to avoid paying attention and actually learning anything. My thinking in those days tended towards disdain of anything old. Somewhere along the line that thinking has changed, maybe because I'm now one of the old timers myself! Anyway, I've been excited about this day for quite a while, since I became intrigued by the "Battle of the Greasy Grass", or as we usually hear it called, the "Battle of the Little Big Horn". Today was our travel day to Hardin, Montana, the closest town to the battlefield where Custer's Last Stand occurred in June of 1876.

We left the Devils Tower KOA at 7:40 this morning and traveled along I-90 about 240 miles to Hardin, where we got settled in to the Grandview Camp and RV Park. There isn't much "grand" to it, either park or view, but it's a place to stop and rest with level sites and full hook-ups. The woman in the office was friendly, and the place is clean, so we don't need any more than that.
Our route through Wyoming, just before the state line took us along the Big Horn Mountains. In the distance, behind that cloud is Cloud Peak, 13,187'. Reminds me of Pikes Peak!
Montana's welcome sign stands in a meadow of waving green grass under that famous Big Sky:
We made good time on our travel and got to the park right around noon. Just as soon as we got the basics set up, the four of us hopped in our car and started off. First stop was Subway for a quick sandwich, then on to the battlefield. We took a guided tour, given by Native American (Crow) college students. Our guide, Josh, talked so fast I was breatless just listening! It's probably a very good thing for me that I've been doing some reading on this battle, so I had some sort of notion about what might have taken place here. It was amazing to me to see the valleys and bluffs and imagine how those days and hours unfolded.
This picture shows the monument, marking the mass graves of over 200 soldiers who fell here. The white markers that look like headstones are actually markers where soldiers fell. These markers can be seen all over the area, not just in this section.
I could imagine these horses running to escape the battle:
A Native American headress, shown in the museum:

We spent several hours at the monument, driving back over the 5 mile route after the tour. Along the way are intrepetive signs, describing the events that occurred in each area. Now, as I finish reading Mari Sandoz's book, The Battle of the Little Bighorn, I will have a much better understanding.

After our exploration, we came back to the rv park and enjoyed our own happy hour in the shade. Mark and Jim talked Dortha and me into going over to Taco Johns, after we checked the points value for some of their menu items, of course! We came back home after dinner and settled in for the night.

Tomorrow the journey continues...

1 comment:

Bob said...

This area is on our to-do list also. Will enjoy hearing about it from you. Bob and Lynda