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Kootenai River – Ancient Travelway

Kootenai River – Ancient Travelway
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Cabinets Stand over Kootenai River

Cabinets Stand over Kootenai River

Before, and even after, horses arrived in the northern Rocky Mountains of North America, the Kootenai River carried travelers through the northern Rocky Mountains of Canada and the United States of America. The river still flows from its headwaters in British Columbia’s Kootenay National Park (where it is called the Kootenay River) south through the Rocky Mountain Trench into northern Montana towards what is now Lake Kookanusa. It bends towards the west, and traverses a gap between the Purcell and Cabinet Mountains until it enters Idaho. In that state, it arcs north and returns to Canada, where it empties into the Columbia River.

Before dams plugged it, the river featured a great river path characteristic: travelers only needed to portage around one spot: Kootenai Falls. Kootenai Falls, near Troy, Montana, drops 200 feet.

In the photograph, the river flows within the gap of the Purcell and Cabinet Mountains, between Troy and Libby, Montana. The Cabinet Mountains stand to the right. The main stem runs at the base of the Cabinets. Overflow slowly meanders through a submerged terrace in the foreground.

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Cabinets Stand over Kootenai River by Shari Maria Silverman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.


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