In addition to my interest in geology, I love human history. I remember as a kid going on family camping trips looking out the car window following the hillside scars of old roads twisting with the topography of the land. I always wanted to walk those abandoned roads and look for treasures from the past. In 6th grade I decided I wanted to be an archeologist when I grew up. But then I changed my mind when I thought I would have to memorize dates and I wasn’t good at memorization. The strange logic of a child. In western Montana there is lots of history to explore.Continue reading
After seeing a bit of Glacier NP it was time to move on. I was heading east then south. Driving south on Hwy 89/287 from East Glacier to my new home located at the Willow Creek Reservoir by Augusta, I was driving through wildfire smoke. Everywhere I looked I just saw smokey haze. I could only see a vague outline of the Rocky Mountains to the west. I set up my campsite at the reservoir and hoped for more. The next morning the skies were clear and I absorbed an expansive view. I was reminded why I go camping. The scenery was gorgeous.
Visit Glacier National Park? I had no plans to visit Glacier with the thought of lots of people and it being a not dog friendly place. But I realized I was close and it was the end of the season. So I called the Park to find out how crowded it might be and was told: ”It is better than it was this summer.” The man on the phone sounded tired. Not the most positive comment, but not negative. So I decided to go drive the Going To The Sun Road.Continue reading
I had been wanting to go to the Gravelly Range for a few years. I was in the area last year but skipped it due to wild fires on the north end. This trip I would make it; however, not as planned. And the wildflowers… would my gamble on the dates picked to see the wildflowers pay off? I drove up the Warm Springs Road.
Last fall when I stopped into the Wise River Ranger Station to ask about road conditions, the ranger started the answer to my question by indicating it was too bad that I wasn’t there earlier to see the wildflowers at Vipond Park. Her statement perked my interested, making me want to come back. This is the trip going back to see the wildflowers at Vipond Park and adding the Gravelly Range to the trip. The plans were hatched in fall. It would be a quick trip; renting forest service cabins seemed to fit the plan for a quick get away instead of taking my trailer. But I needed to rent the cabins when they came available – six months before the arrival date. In December I gambled when I picked the rental days, hoping the days would match the wildflower bloom.
Last week the weather forecast included a day with 3-5 inches of snow on the Gravelly Range. Hum. I am off – wildflowers or not.
After settling into my Mill Creek Campground site I returned to Virginia City the next day. I meander up the Alder Gulch Road south of Virginia City looking for evidence of the old mines. A lot of the land was marked private but the further I drove the ”Private – No Trespassing” signs diminished. It looked to me that the hills are filled with old mines with remnants of old roads dug into the hills. With a gps and hiking boots one could spend days exploring. I was aiming for Union City located at the end of the road. But I didn’t make it to the old city, to keep going it looked like four-wheel drive was required. More adventure than I wanted traveling with only my dogs.