Honors Students & Faculty Photographs from the History of the American Frontier Course

Summer 2005 (Montana & Wyoming)

NWACC offered its first Honors Travel Course: The History of the American West in the summer of 2005.  Five students and two faculty members made their way through Montana and Wyoming to get a first-hand glimpse of America's great interior West.  In addition to learning the history in class back in Burns Hall, they also saw the majestic mountain and meadow scenery, learned of the dynamic climatic conditions caused by topographic conditions, and were witness to many of nature's floral and faunal gifts. 

Below are some of the photographic memories from that inaugural honors travel experience.  Thanks to History Professor April Brown for her outstanding photographic record of the memorable western adventure!


Look Mom! I'm in the West


Honors students (from left to right), Erin Hawks, Cali Terrasas, Rachel Oliver, Lee Sadler, and Brian Duncan, gather for a photo at the Continental Divide just south of Great Falls, Montana, in June 2005. The students posed ever so briefly in the 40 degree temperatures with about a 10 degree windchill factor.

One of Nature's most famous Wonders!


Old Faithful blows off steam during NWACC Honors students' visit in June, 2005. Notice the tourist next to the orange cone who wouldn't move for the Arkansas contingents' photo op, despite some whistling and gentle prodding for her to step aside.

Where the Buffalo Roam!

Buffalo wallow in Yellowstone National Park.  Here cows tend to their calves.  The bull had wandered off a few hundred yards to watch over his brood. The "mamas" and their "babies" were moulting, too!  These seemingly gentle beasts don't take to visitors too well; more national park tourists have been killed by buffalo than any other native animal in North America.

Home-home on the Range!


Honors students "ride the trail" in Big Sky, Montana, in June 2005. The students got to know their horses quite well, so well, in fact, that the well-ridden creatures tried to take advantage of the neophyte riders.  Dr. Huggard's steed, Pete, seemed to have some "gas problems" as well, as Lee Sadler learned as he road in the rear.

Put another Log on the Fire!

One of Montana's oldest ranches, the Grant-Kohr homestead, is preserved as a national park in the town of Deer Lodge.  Here students and faculty enjoy some down-home brewed coffee made by the retired cowpoke with the noticeable gravy train behind him.  In the background are the wooden steers that the students so adeptly lassoed with "real" cowboy ropes (ps. only minor injuries were incurred when students and faculty accidently roped each other!).

Sasquatch (not seen) Attacks Students in Yellowstone!

Snow in Yellowstone served not only as a pleasing part of the mountain vista, but it also attracted colorful wildlife as seen in this photograph.  Vigilantes, not seen in this particular illustration, later corralled these two southern "outlaws" out West.  Snowballs and snow angels accompanied this short stop over in Yellowstone National Park.

Mountain Vista in Yellowstone


After the snowball encounter, students & faculty enjoyed this vista of Yellowstone Lake and the surrounding mountains.

Go West!

Nearing the "end of the trail," these well-worn western adventurers pose for Professor Brown whose photographic talents played an important role in documenting NWACC's first Honors Travel Course.  Near this location, the honors students, who'd been warned about the dangers of Buffalo, witnessed a near-attack of a bull on some less-informed tourists who were trying to "pet" the wild beasts (not the students, the bull buffalo).

Is that a Whale?

In this photograph, seasoned honors student pretends he's with the Lewis & Clark Expedition and is pointing to what he thought was the Lochness Monster (it turned out to be a big wave) at Yellowstone Lake. The only near-accident to occur on the trip happened at this site, too, when one student rode roughshod over the rocks on her saddle side.

Oh What a Blast!


After a thorough lesson in safety, some of the honors students--Brian, Cali, & Rachel--and Dr. Huggard, pose for photographers as they descend into a level 4 rapids on the Gallatin River near Big Sky, Montana, in June 2005. The pinkies are being warmed in the sun after being numbed by the cold western meltwaters (plus the students preferred this finger to others for the shot).

Custer's Last Stand!


Erin Hawks & Lee Sadler stand and reflect near the site where Colonel George Armstrong Custer & his men met their demise at what is now Custer Hill at Little Big Horn Battlefield National Monument.  In the June, 1876, battle, Sioux and Cheyenne warriors defeated the U.S. Army in one of the 19th century's most memorable battles in the West.  The site left a lasting impression on the Arkansas students.

Gimme a Break!


Honors students take a break in the hot Montana air.  As they learned on the trip, the West has a dynamic topography that creates diverse climatic conditions.  The day before, they had been playing in snow.  On this day they thirsted for cooler air and even cooler water as they waited to hear the Ranger give a brief history of the battle.

Park Service Ranger gives an "Aho!" ("hello" in Crow)  to Visitors

This Park Ranger, also a native Crow, explained the complex alliances that existed on the high plains in the late-nineteenth century.  Relations among the one-time enemies, the Sioux and Crow, are still strained, she explained.  The Crow had been allied at the Battle of Little Big Horn with the Americans against the Sioux and Cheyenne, who still today debate among themselves whether even to visit the hallowed ground, now called a national monument by the broader American community. Note the battlefield and the headstones (marking the place where soldiers died), in the background.

Circle of Life & Death

This photograph illustrates a portion of the monument to the Sioux, Cheyenne, Crow, & other Native Americans who fought at the Battle of Little Big Horn.  A controversial site, this circular monument represents the cycles of life and death.  Most pronounced were the quotes of Indian chiefs who lamented the battle and called for peaceful relations with the "white man" and his "Great Father" in Washington, D.C.  A solemn monument, the Indian memorial reveals the diplomatic, military, and spiritual qualities of Plains Indians cultures.

Where's the Professor?


Professor April Brown "hides" in the willows along the Yellowstone River whilst the students and Professor Huggard throw rocks into the river, displaying their athletic prowess (and in the case of Dr. Huggard, his aging skills).  Bears commonly visit these environs, explaining Professor Browns "search for bear scat" in the overgrowth. Historians do the most unusual kinds of research.


Animals Rock! 

(Below are more images of Montana & Wyoming--note the marmot--ground hog looking animal--

the Bald Eagle, Elk, and the lone Bull Buffalo, mentioned above, as well as the "wild beasts" riding horses)