Whats better than seeing old friends, grabbing a beer at your local brewery, and celebrating your official twenty first birthday!? Going on a hike in the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area! A lot can be said about and reminisced on this big birthday and milestone in my life. The best moments for me was having my whole family visit my neck-of-the-woods, seeing old friends, and being able to spend some time out of doors exploring the Big Sky state. Oh yes: a few legal beers were had too and being twenty one made them taste that much hoppy-er!
The Rattlesnake National Recreation Area and Wilderness or RNRAW is a beautiful area in this wonderful state of Montana. Dispersed beyond the trail heads and deeper into the back-country are beautiful lakes, eight of which have been dammed up by the Montana Power Company. Their intentions are good though and this has supplied water to the city of Missoula since the early 1900s. The Montana Power Company did however purchase all private land in the upper west-side Rattlesnake Creek drainage. Congress proceeded to pass a bill in the 1980s establishing this area the Rattlesnake NRA and Wilderness that, at the time, was over one third privately owned. Three short years later the United States Forest Service took ownership of over 21,000 acres from the Montana Power Company and deemed their portion public along with the 7,000+ acres of already established public land for you and me to enjoy.
There are at least two stories, if not more, of how the Rattlesnake Creek got its name. The first being that a man in the early 1800s was out gathering firewood along this creek when a rattlesnake struck and bit him. This sorry bastard was later was found dead in the creek from the rattlesnake’s poisonous venom. Another popular version suggests that Rattlesnake Creek got its name from the earliest settlers of this land: the Salish Native American tribe’s word, “Kehi-oo-le“, which directly translates to rattlesnake. I personally, have never come into contact with a rattlesnake up the creek, but have pulled a trout or two from its waters.
I took some photos of my friends and I exploring on this beautiful October day of my birth: