Well, we made it to our first stop on our epic journey to Blackfeet Nation…the Holiday Inn Express in Helena. Just to put this into perspective, I was expecting the airport in Helena to be kind of like Harrisburg; a smaller airport but still a decent size. Needless to say, that was not the case. The airport was all of a handful of gates and one baggage claim, so it is more like the Lancaster airport. We really are in the middle of nowhere, even though we are in the state capital. Our hotel was all of two blocks from the airport and while we haven’t been through “downtown” Helena, I can’t imagine that there is much to this state capital. What it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in beauty…boy is it beautiful out here!
After saying goodbye to the parents in Baltimore, we boarded the plane to head to Minneapolis where we changed planes to get to Helena. The flight to Minneapolis was uneventful, which boded well for those in our group who don’t always fly well. We got into Minneapolis with less than an hour to spare to make our connection. After grabbing a few snacks and an ice coffee pick-me-up we were on an even smaller plane to make the two-hour hop from Minneapolis to Helena. This leg of the flight was a little more bumpy. I guess I am just used to it, but as we flew over the Dakotas we met with some wicked turbulence. We went through a storm cell. I gave one person my prayer beads just to keep busy…that person will remain nameless ; ) Compared with our flights to Tel Aviv and back, this was a walk in the park.
As we approached Helena the landscape changed dramatically. We went from flat farmlands to mountains and valleys. We wove our way around these foothills and then descended into the valley where Helena is located. It was so beautiful and so different from what I have seen so far. We are definitely not in central Pennsylvania anymore! After a quick bite to eat, we have settled into for the evening and are looking forward to the adventures that await us tomorrow. Let it begin!!!