Saturday, September 19, 2009

Along the Big Hole River

The Big Hole River, formerly known as the Wisdom River, is across the continental divide to the southeast of the Bitterroot Valley. When Lewis and Clark traveled up the Jefferson River in 1805, they named three of the Jefferson’s tributaries after virtues they believed represented the President that sent them on their journey: philosophy, wisdom and philanthropy. None of these rivers retained their virtuous names. The Philosophy River is now Willow Creek, the Wisdom River became the Big Hole River, and the Philanthropy River is now named the Ruby River.

The name Wisdom is still represented in the Big Hole Valley by the town of Wisdom, Montana, population 114. Wisdom is the home of the Antlers Saloon, a laid back bar with friendly people. It is said they also serve great pizza, something we didn’t know and certainly didn’t expect when we were there. Next time we are in the Big Hole Valley, we will investigate whether this claim has any merit.

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