Still off the Interstate in Northern Montana. This place got the name “Big Sky Country” for a very good reason. Almost as soon as we crossed the border the sky seemed to open up. The land opened up, also. Great swaths of fields surrounded by hills and mountains made the sky look more imposing (is it possibly go get vertigo while standing on a giant rolling plain?)
The Native American influence (and presence) is everywhere. We entered the Blackfoot Reservation and headed toward Browning. It was too early to check in to our hotel (also a big casino) so we continued on to the park–Two Medicine Lake.
The drive up to the lake, crossing Two Medicine River several times, was quite tranquil. The lake itself was calm with imposing mountains all around. Large patches of snow were still prevalent everywhere. And, as luck would have it, we were able to get the last two seats on a boat ride across the lake.
Two Medicine Lake (there is also an Upper Two Medicine Lake and a Lower Two Medicine Lake), and the river it was named after have a very interesting and ancient story about the name–but then practically everything as an interesting story behind its name. The Indians had (have?) a ritual were an older woman goes out into the woods for days–fasting the whole time. Her job is to connect with the environment and determine a location for their ritual. Many things go into the choosing of the right spot (I know none of them–but they are very sacred to the tribes).
Once the location is determined, they build a medicine hut as the center point for the upcoming ritual. One time though … two different tribes ended up picking spots on the opposite sides of the same river. This was an unheard up coincidence and they commemorated the occasion by naming the river Two Medicines. The rest ins history (according to the NPS tour guide).
At the halfway point on the boat ride, we got off and hiked up to Twin Falls. After an appropriate amount of time ogling the falls, we headed back to the lake for the return boat ride. Then back to the hotel for some rest.