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

A View Over Some of the Nation’s Most Varied History

©Bert Gildart:  So many travelers passed though what is now Montana’s Headwaters State Park that I am tempted to say it is one of the most significant state parks in the nation. Fall is also one of the most ideal times to visit the area.


Camping at Headwaters State Park


Two days ago Janie and I climbed to the top of a relatively low prominence called Fort Rock, but it was high enough to see one of the most significant geographical features in all of North America.  From the top we could look to the west and see the confluence of the Jefferson and Madison Rivers.  We could then turn 180 degrees and just half a mile away, see these two rivers converge with the Gallatin to form the Missouri River.  Several days ago the entire area was absolutely gorgeous.  Huge mountain ranges surround these rivers to include the Bridgers, the Madison and Gallatin ranges, and the Tobacco Root Mountains, all covered with fall’s first dusting of snow.


Parking lot for accessing Fort Rock, vantage from which one can see the convergence of the Madison and Jefferson Rivers. From here, the Jefferson appears large, the Madison (a little to the left of center) smallish


Lewis and Clark traveled this country and when they arrived here, thought all three rivers about equal in prominence believing that none was the Missouri River proper, rather that the three of them together formed this, the longest river in North America.  In his journals Captain Clark wrote “I saw several Antelope common Deer, wolves, beaver, otter, Eagles, hawks, crow, wild gees, both old and young, etc. etc.”

Because of the abundance of water the area was rich in wildlife, and was visited by all the area’s major tribes.  Later, the Three Forks was visited by trappers, and legend has it that it is here that John Colter made his historic run to escape the Blackfeet.  As the story goes, Indians captured Colter, stripped him of his clothes and then told him to run for his life.  A fast runner, Colter eluded all of the runners but one who was closing in with a spear. Before the warrior could thrust the spear, Colter grabbed it and killed the man.  Then he dove into the Missouri and hid from his other pursuers beneath a raft of reeds.


From Fort Rock one can turn 90 degrees and see the Gallatin. If one turns 180 degrees one can see the actual convergence of this, the Gallatin, with the Jefferson and Madison.


Though the campground was officially closed for the season, we found a spot and “parked” for several nights.  Because we support our state parks, we nevertheless paid the $7.50 campground fee.

The Heritage Trail departed from nearby and invites cyclists and hikers.  A sign alerts users that this is also moose country and that bulls are in rut and that hikers should be careful.  Essentially, we had the whole place to ourselves.

For Janie and me, the stop was delightful and we continue to believe that fall can be one of the most enjoyable of times to travel the state.



*The Princess of Acadia


One Response to “A View Over Some of the Nation’s Most Varied History”

  1. Tom & Sandi Palesch Says:

    Great blog and photos of that historically significant area. It’s a beautiful place in the center of the “cowboy and Indian” west as we still think of it.

    Great fishing waters too!