Hauser Lake is, technically, the Missouri River held captive by the concrete wall of Hauser Dam. Hauser Dam number two, actually. The first dam—which was made of steel—came apart in 1908, sending a massive surge of water downstream. The “lake” is comprised of two serpentine arms. The main body is the old Missouri River Channel through the Big Belt Mountains. The other channel is where Prickly Pear Creek once wallowed through the shale hills to reach the river.
I live on the creek arm, what we call the Causeway arm.
Yesterday, that girl, my sister, Kevin, and I pushed my pontoon boat into the water and cruised from my place up the base of Canyon Ferry Dam—the first of three dams holding the Missouri River into three lakes. Holter Lake is below us. Canyon Ferry above.
Cruising along at pontoon-boat speed, the trip took about an hour each direction. The channel is ever-turning and mostly sided by mountains. The girls sat in the front, enjoying the summer’s end sun. Kevin and I sat in the shade of the Bimini cover, drinking coffee beer.
A great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
I am posting a few photographs I captured with my smarter-than-me-phone. In one of the photographs, taken near Canyon Ferry Dam, you can clearly see the shorelines cut into the mountainside by ancient Lake Missoula. Lake Missoula formed at the end of the last ice age, something near 12,000 years ago. The lake formed when ice created a temporary dam where the Clark Fork River entered Idaho. The lake grew to be something akin to the size of one of the Great Lakes. At some points, Lake Missoula was nearly 2,000 deep. The ice dam eventually failed in spectacular fashion, carving out what is now the Columbia River Gorge.