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The tour runs through high plateau lands, where arable soil has been planted to wheat. The rougher areas of scabrock and sagebrush are used for grazing. Occasionally, a waterhole or slough is bordered by willows and aspen; serviceberry bushes, for a brief time in spring, form swaying towers of white, and sunflowers and lupines brighten the dun-colored sagelands. In the fall, blackbirds chatter in the yellow stubble fields, and swallows gather on the telegraph wires, or a flying wedge of geese, lined against the saffron evening sky, honk their way south above the quiet land.

Native Americans called this place Paha or big water, for an abundance of water supplied from the underground source later called Providence Spring. In 1883, the Northern Pacific Railway Company gave it the Native American name when they built their station.