Molly and I took a trip to the Missouri a while ago to enjoy the fall colors. The Great Plains is a landscape dominated by grass and sky–until you reach the banks of the Missouri. Hundred-year-old cottonwoods still stand on the shores, remembering a day when the river was the highway of the west.
The first watercraft on her shores were bull boats–buffalo skins stretched over dome-shaped frames, crafted by the native Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara. Later, early explorers like Lewis and Clark pushed northward in wooden keelboats that could haul their cargo. Finally came the steamboats, three-deck ships that harvested the cottonwoods for their hungry boilers and brought settlers, soldiers, and fortune-hunters into the Dakotas and Montana.
All these have passed away. But as Molly and I observed, the river and the cottonwoods are still there. This is a unique, surprising feature of the North Dakota landscape, and one I treasure for its beauty and serenity. We hope you catch a whiff of that in our video below!
Pawnotes from Molly
This is the BEST place to find chew sticks!