Friday, July 1, 2016

Day 14: Polson, MT

As the sun was rising over the mountains the crew was making its way to the bus. We were able to have one last home cooked meal at the ranch and watch the horses being corralled and brought back in for the day before heading west. 

The short drive brought us to Polson, MT where a stop at Walmart and quick check-in at the hotel had us back on the bus heading to the river. The Flathead River originates in the Canadian Rockies and flows along the western side of Glacier National Park. It runs into the Kerr Dam in Polson to form the beautiful Flathead Lake. We split into groups of 8-12 and loaded our rafts. After some general instruction on how to raft and what to do if you fall out of the raft the groups pushed off. Some of the rapids were gentle and bounced the boats as we glided  over them. Some parts of the river were calm enough the kids could jump out and swim within close distance to their boats. Other parts consisted of rough Rapids. The Buffalo is the biggest rapid on the river and it is said there is a one in six chance for a boat to flip going over it. As our guides urged us forward each boat in turn buckled down, paddled hard, and raced into the roaring rapid. Looking back at the pictures many of the boats had the front dip down deep into the water so the front riders were almost completely invisible behind the wave, then the boat shot up over the rapid bending at almost a 90 degree angle with the front riders in the air. The riders in the back paddled hard and the boats soared into the air with everyone hanging on for dear life. Overall it was successful with only one boat flipping completely and another losing three passengers. After the panic ended and everyone was accounted for smiles could be found everywhere. Then the playing started. We had students jumping in the water everywhere. They struggled against the easy but quick current to stay close to their boats but enjoyed jumping, flipping, and sliding off the rafts into the water. It was another successful trip down the river with the Flathead Raft Co. 

Dinner was held on the pristine patio of the KwaTaqNuk hotel and casino overlooking the Flathead Lake and surrounding mountains. The group enjoyed Indian Tacos which is a lot like bean and beef chili layered over a fried bun topped with the normal taco fixings. Many in the group went back for seconds of the unique dish.

After dinner a little free time was alotted for the group to hang out at the hotel. Some stayed at the dinner tables to order dessert. Others gallivanted across the docks to take pictures. The sun set as the Grand Western Tour headed to their rooms for the night. In our last night in Montana all will go to bed to dream about horses, beautiful mountains, and raging Rapids. 


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