After work I can’t think of a better way to burn off some stress than hitting the Rivers Edge Trail on the bikes. I can burn down a few residential blocks and hop on the trail without crossing any major streets. From there I can reach the entire length of the Missouri that passes through Great Falls with one street crossing. This crossing is located just north of the Milwaukee Depot adjacent to the skate park. There is Just one note on this crossing that I wanted to share. It can be a dangerous crossing due to the signage provided. For the trail traffic there is a stop sign provided that tells the pedestrians and bikers that they need to stop and wait until it is safe to cross. The vehicular traffic is also provided a sign that says there is a pedestrian crossing ahead. However there is no communication on who has the right away. The danger comes when a vehicle stops giving up his or her right away leading the trail traffic into a false sense of security. The vehicular traffic traveling the opposite direction may not be paying attention or willing to give up their right away. If you have a longer train there may be some miscommunication on whether or not it is safe to cross. I watched this last week almost turn into a tragic accident. Myself I let the courteous drivers that stop to allow me cross keep their “right away”. It is only until it is clear that I attempt to cross (OK! On with the rest of my blog). This is about the third of fourth time I have blogged about the Rivers Edge Trail and I can Promise it won’t be my last. Every time I am on the trail the scenic view is different than the day before.
After a typical Memorial Day in Montana not all was lost. It was a great weekend at the cabin in spite of the 6” of snow that fell from Friday to Sunday. Our original plan was to take the four-wheelers up over the pass in to Hughesville and west on the Stanford road up into Villars Creek. Instead we spent the weekend relaxing inside and hanging out around the fire. Between hanging out around the fire and a few hikes I was able to get a few cool photographs.
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I am on my way out the door for a bike ride. My daughter has her warm clothes on and my wife is patiently waiting for me to finish this blog :-). When you look at the map of the Rivers Edge Trail you can see that there is an access point “just down the street” from just about everywhere in Great Falls. It is amazing what the trail started from compared to what it is today. There are so many awesome views of the Missouri River and sites around Great Falls. Starting at Flag Hill just below Warden Park on the southernmost part of the trail is the best place to start your journey. From this vantage point you get a great view of Great Falls and the path of the Missouri as it cuts through Great Falls. At the Top of Warden Park there are two high powered spotting scopes that you can use to glass Great Falls and beyond. I was surprised at the quality of the glass and scopes (highly recommend). In addition to the spotting scopes there is a Folf course that works its way through the park. I took photograph of the Flag with Great Falls in the back drop from this location (called “Flying Proud”). This print is being auctioned off at the Dirty Martini’s for Clean Water on the 12th of May; this is a fundraiser for the Rivers Edge Trail. The trail on this side of the river goes all the way out to Morony Dam. On the west side of the river starting at Bay Drive there is a nice little park that gets less traffic than other parks, however it is a great place to put in for Fishing or just relaxing next to the River. It is right on the river with park benches scattered about. I took an awesome photograph of the flag and the gazebo at the top of Warden Park with a brilliant rainbow behind it (Flying Colors). You can get on the trail and take it along Bay Drive, under Central Ave West Bridge. When you get to the other side you can take the West Bank park trail where businesses are developing the river front. This side goes all the way to the island below Black Eagle dam. On the tip of that Island is a great place to grab shots of birds flying up the river. When they pass by they are flying low. They like to fly up below the dam and float back down to Giant Springs. The second option when you get to the other side of the bridge you can take the Wiseman Bridge to the east side of the river. From there you can take a right to get back up to Warden Park or take a left and head to Morony Dam, Giant Springs, Gibson Park, and Great Falls Skate Park or practically anywhere in Great Falls.
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While I was out and about this weekend I stopped by the annual “Cruising the Drag” in downtown Great Falls, Montana. Great Falls downtown area is the heart of Great Falls and one of our best kept secrets. When I was a Teenager, when my parents were teenagers, and their parents were teenagers central Avenue was the place to hang out and socialize. Somewhere between here and there that has changed a little and the kids no longer “Cruz the drag”. On an annual basis you can take a walk back in time. From all corners of the state collectors bring their classics and line them up and down Central. On my walk down Central I was able to take in the sights and sounds of classic Great falls and enjoy the cars. Do you know those classic cars that when they drive by everything in the world stops while you admire them? Or the ones that make you almost run into the car in front of you while you are driving because you are too busy eyeing that classic machine next to you? Well Cruising the Drag is seven city blocks (both sides) of those cars. This was a photographer’s Dream, I walked away with 256 photographs and I picked a few and posted them to my blog here. Being the small community that Great Falls is you see just about every one you know as you make your way down the street. It seems that about every third car we would run into an old friend that is in town for the weekend or family that was out and about. One of the more interesting people we ran into was gubernatorial candidate Jim O’Hara. I enjoyed our conversation and admired his ability hang out with the people and not try to be one of the attractions. In addition to following his positions and political point of view, in a conversation with him I can tell that he is not too different than any of us. When you attend these events in Great Falls you just never know who you are going to run into, but one way or the other taking in the culture of Great Falls is an experience all by itself.
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