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Springtime Trail Ride
By Shannon Jackson
1 Shelley couldn't sleep. Her family was leaving at sunrise for a three-day pack trip into the mountains. They had to clear some of the trails they would be using to guide "dudes." The trees that had blown down since last fall would have to be cut through or pushed to the side of the trail because those city dudes would never be able to go around them.
2 As the first rays of sunlight shone through her window, Shelley hopped out of bed. She smelled bacon frying and coffee brewing. "Mom! Where are my riding jeans?" she hollered from the head of the stairs.
3 "Right where you left them, sweetie," was the answer. Shelley groaned. That could be anywhere!
4 Mom added, "Don't forget to take a flannel shirt. It gets a little chilly in the shady spots."
5 It seemed to take forever to get their gear loaded into the pickup, get the horses loaded into the trailer, and get on the road. After two hours of driving along the bumpy logging road, they finally reached the head of the trail.
6 As they saddled up and started down the trail, Shelley saw a large sign about Lewis and Clark. She remembered her teacher telling them about these first white men to cross Montana on their way to the Pacific Ocean. Now when was that? Then she remembered that they had come to Montana in 1805. "Dad, how come Lewis and Clark decided to use this trail when they came back from Idaho? Why didn't they just use the same trail they used on the westward route?"
7 "Well, if I remember correctly, the Shoshone Chief Cameahwait helped. He was Sacagawea's brother. He tried to get them to go south across the Snake River Valley, but the explorers felt that was too far south. They wanted to follow the Salmon River Canyon in Idaho, but it was too rough and rocky. So they ended up using an Indian trail over what is now Lolo Pass. A Shoshone guide led them over the mountains into Montana."
8 "What do you think it looked like way back then?"
9 "Look around you. It probably looked pretty much like what you see right now. I think that things haven't changed much," her father said.
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