Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Circle market (and lots of dinosaurs!)

Along the Hi-Line and throughout northeast Montana, you will find dinosaurs in all kinds of places. Above is one beside my motel in Circle. When I asked why it was there, I was told that the man who made it just wanted to know if he could do it.

Circle is certainly the kind of town with a sly sense of humor, as highlighted in the town paper's slogan:

But the farmers market is no joke. It's small (4 vendors), but as I stood there at the 9 am opening, a steady stream of customers chatted and bought lots of produce. There was also blackberry jelly (and other flavors) and peaches (read more about the peach guy at the Glasgow market). When the Hutterites arrived, baked goods made their welcome appearance.

cherokee beans


smiles and peaches

After getting a simple recipe for rhubarb bread pudding, I headed to Glendive, where I will stay until I've visited the Wibaux market and the two Glendive markets.

Glendive has 3 dinosaur museums!

The one with the most impressive entrance has to be the Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum. There's a fierce-looking T-Rex busting out!

This is a new museum and has really great-looking displays and videos that are worth spending at least half a day looking at. I watched a video on dragons -- totally cool! They'll stamp your hand so you can go out to lunch if you want to spend the whole day.

Right up front (literally) they'll explain that they do not believe in the theory of evolution, and each display will explain why. It's an education for anyone, if you can keep an open mind. But as I say, it's worth just looking at the exhibits without any explanation at all.

You will see Noah's Ark with dinosaurs wandering around it, a sight that may well be worth the price of admission all on its own. According to their idea, Noah took small young dinosaurs onboard.

I had plenty of questions and the museum curator answered them all, at least as far as I'm able to understand at this point.

In my opinion they have the best things for sale in their gift shop of any place I've been. You can even buy dino feet shoes!

back side of Noah's Ark, with dinosaurs

make your own dinosaur tracks

Next I drove to Makoshika State Park. Describing or even showing a photo of this place is like trying to describe the smell of a rose, but I can say it is magnificent. My favorite spot was Eyeful Vista, which comes complete with a bench so you can enjoy the view as long as you want. My only worry about staying there too long was a vulture circling overhead. There was a nice breeze for him to float on, but still, it's a big park, so why that particular spot?

At the visitors center, there is a small museum that will get larger as they obtain more funds. My favorite display showed a miniature dig.

Back in town I went to the Makoshika Dinosaur Museum, not related to the park. The word makoshika (mah-KO-shikka) is a Lakota word for "badlands." There are a number of explanations as to why this area was called that, but the one that makes sense to me is that it is dry and barren even of many animals, and so the Indians avoided it as being unlivable.

This museum is a work in progress and creates just the right exotic, mysterious atmosphere the second you walk in. As an example, to watch their video, I had to sit on a bench behind a fern plant. The photo below is bad, out of focus, and just plain scary, but it gives you an idea of the place.

I do recommend this museum, with the caveat that you understand the video is an hour and a half long (!). It is informative and clearly describes each major dinosaur type. But keep in mind there are over 500 genera of dinosaurs that have been discovered to date! I only watched for half an hour so I don't know how many they actually covered.

Circle Farmers Market
Exxon building on Highway 200
July 29 - September 19
Wednesday, 9 am - noon

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