Tuesday morning was another beautiful riding day, we off we went again – this time south toward Idaho. Not for any reason except that we saw on the map that the Madison seemed to parallel the road for a long time, and since the river is so pretty, we thought it would be a good ride. Well, the road does travel along the river part of the way, but not as closely or for as long as we’d hoped. We did have several miles where we could see the river, but more of the ride we saw ranches, cattle, pasture, and irrigated hay fields. In one area we noticed long horizontal terraces on the west side of the road that were present for several miles, like a very long levee, and we figured out the river was on the other side, but we couldn’t figure out why the land looked like a levee. Later we read a sign that explained it – the levee-like formations are remnants of old channels for the Madison River. The highest ones are from the oldest channels, while the ones that were not as high were from more recent channels, all created as the river cut through the land to its present channel. Although it didn’t create a canyon in this part of the county, there is a Madison River canyon – we just didn’t get to it because there is no road there. We also read that this area still has lots of earthquakes; in fact, it is the most active area in the US outside of California and Nevada. In 1959, the Madison Canyon earthquake caused a gigantic landslide of 37 million cubic yards, forming a blockage on the river and creating Earthquake Lake. Good thing it happened in a very rural area with no population! The interesting facts we learn as we read roadside signs!
We traveled on south and as we did, the land changed. We were at a higher elevation, heading for Targhee Pass, on the border between southeastern Idaho and southwestern Montana. This is located on the Continental Divide, so we thought it would be fun to ride that far. According to our GPS, we reached 7072 feet in elevation when we got to the Continental Divide sign, and the sign welcoming us to Idaho. If we’d kept on going we’d have passed Henry’s Lake, which we could see in the distance, and then could have reached West Yellowstone, one of the entrances to Yellowstone National Park. We’ve been there twice before though in the past few years, so didn’t want to head that far away today. There was a gorgeous ranch right at the border, located on the Montana side. The privacy gate was quite elaborate, and just as we were looking around, a fancy car approached and turned into the ranch entrance, the guy in the car pushed a button, the privacy gate opened, and into the ranch he went. The road up to the ranch house was all paved, and it was a loonnnggg driveway, so the owners have some big bucks to spend on their place! It was the prettiest place we saw on the ride today. We turned around and headed back toward Ennis, stopping at a rest area near the river for our picnic lunch. It was so pleasant there so we wandered around a little after lunch and took some photos. Again, the prettiest scenery we saw was on the curves when we couldn’t stop to safely take any photos, so once again, you reading this don’t get to see what we saw!
Tuesday evening after supper, we decided to go into town and go see a movie, Knight and Day, at the little one screen theater. The price was right – only $13 for two tickets and two bags of popcorn! This little theater shows one movie from Monday - Wednesday, is closed on Thursday, and then shows another movie on Friday - Sunday. They show first run movies and it is a very popular place in Ennis! The owners advertise which movies they will have for the next couple of weeks and vary their choices, showing a variety of adult shows, comedies, thrillers, and kid shows. Great idea for a small town! The closest next theaters are located 50 miles away in Bozeman, so the theater owners in Ennis have a thriving business. Tomorrow is our last day in the Madison River Valley. We likely will just relax, sit in the sun, do laundry, clean house, and then I hope to have one more meal of fresh trout for supper!