The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Guinevere Abern
Special to the Courier 

Girl Scout Troop 2077 Travels 1,042 Miles to Learn About Geology


Photo Courtesy Patti Scanlan

The Girl Scouts pan for sapphires.

Girl Scout Troop 2077 recently went on a trip that lasted five days and composed of 1,042 miles. During our trip we earned our Geologist badge.

When we first arrived at our camp, it was so windy and rainy that it was a struggle just to set up our tents. It was an even bigger challenge to cook food and stay warm.

Later that night, one tent had both poles snap leaving us half as much room to sleep.

The next morning, we toured Lewis & Clark Caverns. At the cave entrance we came face to face with a cauldron of bats. They were not as scary as some of us thought they would be and were actually cute and fuzzy.

Further down in the caverns we slid down the Beaver Slide and saw what is commonly known as Romeo and Juliet.

Our Girl Scout Leader, Patti Scanlan, looked at it more creatively and said it was an old woman getting pushed off the cliff by a man with a long beard for the insurance money.

One of our favorite parts of the trip is when they turned the lights off and we got to experience total darkness.

After the caverns, our troop went to the Ringing Rocks. If you hit a hammer on the rocks, they will create a sound somewhat like a bell. Each rock made a different sound, and the higher up you climbed, the louder sound they made. We learned if you remove the rocks from the site, they won't ring anymore.

To start off Day 3, we drove to Gem Mountain to go sapphire panning. The Nashua Lions Club generously paid for our buckets of dirt to pan. We learned how to wash away the dirt and separate the larger rocks from the smaller, heavier sapphires.

They looked like little pieces of glass and were sometimes hard to find. While panning, we were lucky to also find other minerals like garnet and quartz.

Later, we visited the World Museum of Mining to learn about the mining industry and got a personal tour from Jessica Scanlan. We walked 100 feet down into the Orphan Girl mine.

We learned the miners dug for Rhodochrosite and Sphalerite before the mine closed in 1957 and we got to experience what it was like to be down so deep in the earth. We wrapped up the day at the Mineral Museum on the school campus.

We saw all sorts of rocks and jewels including Big Daddy (a 400-pound smokey quartz crystal) and rocks that glow in the dark under black light.

On the last day, we went to Miners Union Day, where we looked at examples of a town during the major days of mining in Butte. Here we got to see a honeypot and decided doing your business down in the mine didn't look like much fun.

Photo Courtesy Patti Scanlan

The Girl Scouts learn about Orphan Girl Mine.

Our last stop was at Escape the Falls, a place in Great Falls that provides escape rooms. We did the harder room, Peacock Manor. Our troop only used two out of three hints, but we had some additional help from our host. We managed to get out with four minutes to spare

While we did escape, we learned a lot about how to improve communication and teamwork next time.

Our trip was full of fun, laughter, and learning. Not only did we get to be geologists for a week, we did crafts and practiced outdoor skills like setting up camp, outdoor cooking and fire building.

We want to give a special thank you to the Nashua Lions Club, Jessica Scanlan, and Patti Scanlan for making everything possible.

In addition, we would like to thank the Valley County Combined Campaign for helping with funds that help us to pay for experiences like this.


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