Photo of the Roe River, in Great Falls, Montana

Weekly Gem #56 The short and the long of it

Published 1/23/2016

Location:  This 'hidden gem' is both the headwaters, and the mouth, of the Roe River, just north of Great Falls, MT (see Clue Me! Map). The Roe River headwaters is Giant Springs. The river's mouth is 200 feet downstream where the Roe empties into the Missouri River. That's one short river. In fact, it's the shortest river in the world when it's low tide in Oregon ....   Coincidentally, the shortest river is fed by one of the largest freshwater springs in the world, and it flows into the longest river in the U.S.

As noted by the gem author, the Roe River is so short that a person can walk its entire length in just about a minute. But what if they run (or swim)?

Usain Bolt would run out of Roe River about the time he reached top speed (6.75 seconds). That is 25 steps, in case you're counting.

Katie Ledecky. She can swim about twice as fast as you can walk. In a pool, she'd finish in 34.19 seconds. In the Roe river (for the moment, remove all rocks and turbulence) she could swim from the Missouri to Giant Springs in 59.7 seconds (against the current), and from the Springs to the Missouri (i.e. with the current) in a mere 23.95 seconds.

The fastest cheetah would run from end to end in about 4.165 seconds.

The elephant shrew would finish in a touch under 20 seconds ... his little legs would be a blur even in the slow motion replay.

The ETA for the three toed sloth is 35 minutes and 22 seconds, not accounting for naps.


Here's the hidden gem entry from our Clue Me! map.


Short and sweet.


Roe River

Why It's Interesting

The Roe River (named "Roe" because of the fish hatchery nearby) is one of the shortest rivers in the world. (At one time it held the title in the Guinness Book of World Records!) It is only 201 feet long and takes a person about one minute to walk the length. Interestingly enough, it flows into the Missouri River which is the longest river in the United States at 12,360,480 feet long (2,341 miles) and takes approximately 37,456 minutes to walk the length!

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