Friday, August 14, 2009

Hungry Horse Dam and Fort Benton, MT

Near Glacier Park is the Hungry Horse Dam -- which is a remarkable structure. This 564 foot high concrete dam was completed in 1953 which was one of the highest in the world at that time.

There is a very nice visitor center at the dam, but we arrived after it was closed (hours are 9 - 3 -- we got there at 4). Still, you can see the entire dam and even drive over it which is an interesting experience.

This was a fun diversion and an interesting place to see.

On to Fort Benton! We really liked Fort Benton -- the most westward point for steamships on the Missouri River. This was an amazing spot in the l860-1880 timeframe as steamships moved from St. Louis to Fort Benton. It is about 3,100 miles by river to Ft. Benton and took 55 to 60 days, if things went well. This is amazing considering we were about 3,700 feet in elevation and the Missouri River is climbing the whole way.

Ft. Benton has a wonderful river walk area that must be close to a mile long. Along the way, there are statues and kiosks that inform you of the area's exciting history. This one describes the open range era and the time of the cowboy in the late 1800's. Must have been an interesting time.

Cody was especially excited to learn of the story of Forever Faithful Shep -- the sheepdog. Here is Shep's story:

"Old Shep
, its "forever faithful" sheep dog. In the summer of 1936, a sheep herder fell ill and headed to Ft. Benton for treatment. His dog, Shep, came along. When the herder died a few days later, his body was crated up and sent back east to relatives. Shep followed the box to the Ft. Benton train depot, and watched nervously as his master was put on board and taken away. No one remembers the name of the herder. But everyone remembers Shep. Because for the next five and a half years, Shep maintained a vigil at the station, greeting the four trains that arrived each day, waiting for his master to return. Two and a half years into the watch, Old Shep was featured in Ripley's Believe It or Not, and became a Depression-era sensation. Fan mail poured in. School children sent Christmas gifts. Rail travelers took long detours off the mainline, just to stop in Ft. Benton and see this devoted dog meet their train." (From

This great sculpture is devoted to Shep's memory.


Mahmood said...

Your blog is very nice. The images are very beautiful. God is Great. Best wishes.

Margie M. said...

Love the photos of Montana. Great writing, too. Great dog you have!

Margie M.

squawmama said...

We visited Fort Benton last year & I loved it there... You must go check out the ice cream stand at the end of the road across from the museum... I got the Boston Milkshake... best one I ever had!

Have Fun & Travel Safe