Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

Montana’s Wild & Scenic Missouri River

©Bert Gildart:  For the past seven days Janie and I have been floating Montana’s Wild & Scenic Missouri River, one of the most isolated areas remaining in the United States.  We were joined by our good friends Adam and Susan Maffei.


Canoeing Montana's Wild & Scenic Missouri River


The trip is not for everyone. During our journey of about 110 miles we saw but few other people, meaning that one must be comfortable with isolation.  Rather than people, we enjoyed the company of eagles, white pelicans, sheep and a multitude of night sounds created by deer, raccoons and by the yipping of coyotes.  There are no cell phones along the river and certainly no internet connectivity.

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L TO R:  Bert, Janie, Susan and Adam

In years gone by the Missouri River was home to a number of homesteaders but, today, few call the banks of the river home.  Other river occupants in the early 1900s include outlaws and some may recall that Marlon Brando and Jack Nickelson portrayed thieves in the movie entitled “Missouri River Breaks.”  In the end Brando is ambushed, dying as his character had lived.

Such recollections make it appear as though none but the most rugged of outdoor people could enjoy such an adventure, but Adam and Sue both worked in the corporate world. We don’t hold that against them and last summer they also joined Janie and me, hiking many of the trails that will soon be described in our 4th edition of Hiking Shenandoah. They climbed Old Rag with me, also in Shenandoah. On yet another adventure (Alaska’s Chilkoot Pass), they proved they could be depended upon, even when the chips are down.

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Of course it was Lewis and Clark who first brought attention to the Missouri River and Lewis in his journals described the White Cliffs area of the river, saying that the “Hills and Cliffs present a most romantic appearance.”  We carried their journals with us and marveled at the distances they covered traveling upstream. Our adventure followed the flow of the river and there were a few days when our travels were bested by the Corps’s upstream journey.


Montana's Wild & Scenic Missouri, near Hole in the Wall


Throughout my many years in Montana I have floated the river over a dozen times, several times on extended hunting trips with my son. About 25 years ago I also provided Far Country Press with pictures and text for a book about Montana’s Missouri River.  It was a wonderful project as the area is rich in Montana history, geology, scenery and in wildlife.  Though development is encroaching the river remains relatively pristine, suggesting that there is a great need among people from all walks of life to pit their skills against nature and whatever she might decide to dish out.




*Skagway Alaska & The Klondike




2 Responses to “Montana’s Wild & Scenic Missouri River”

  1. Tom & Sandi Palesch Says:

    Great photos and looks like the weather was outstanding, or did you Photoshop!

    Looks like plenty of water. On lower sections of the MO River last fall water levels were up and locals complained about displaced snakes being a problem. Any rattler encounters?

    I love the aged locals around Ft. Benton. They have great stories to tell about growing up in the shadow of L&C and the later characters that plied the River. The River is a big part of their life history and almost a “Huck Finn” childhood for many of them.

    Look forward to your new book.

  2. Bert Gildart Says:

    Twarnt no Photoshop here — just good luck that our float coincided with incredible spate of sunshine. Only discomfort were afternoon highs, which soared to high 90s. But nights cooled, requiring sleeping bags in wee hours.