My Journey

Foy.....I'd never heard the term Island Ranges but I get it. I've spent most of the past two decades exploring western Montana and the bigger mountains but now I find myself wondering if I would have liked these just as much back then ? Am I changing with age & experience or was it always that way without me never knowing it ? I hope you'll share any special places that you find with the rest of us (don't worry.....you won't be telling too many people if you share here).....

ITTOG.....I have not had an MRI based on the advice from my medical doctor friend & the physical therapist. Honestly.....I'd like to get one. I stretch three times a day now, I've curtailed my crawling, walking, hiking, & climbing down to 7 miles per day (usually a bit more and it sucks), and I've quit consuming sugar (that sucks too). I'm probably headed back to the cabin & physical therapy soon.....I just got to get something done.....



We took Highway 12 into White Sulphur Springs, Montana.....

20220621_152404_copy_1600x778.jpg

It seemed like a good idea for obvious reasons.....

20220621_144236_copy_1600x778.jpg

I read an interesting story about these hot springs.....once upon a time there wasn't a hotel built on top of them.....

20220621_150109_copy_1600x778.jpg

The Native Americans that lived here prior to the arrival of the white man would come here to soak (I would imagine that it was way much better way back then).....

20220621_150132_copy_1600x3291.jpg

And so the story goes (at least this is how it was told to me) that the white man took this land & the hot spring from the Native Americans, and when the Native Americans came to soak again, the white man charged them a fee (a beaver pelt maybe ?).....to use the hot springs that were stolen from them.....

20220621_150028_copy_1600x3291.jpg

Well, that's a sad story for sure.....the water felt good no doubt but I guess in some odd way.....not really sure how or why.....I felt kind of funny relaxing in that pool of water. I often think of these kinds of things these days.....

20220621_145931_copy_1600x3291.jpg

It was yet one more brief stop.....there will be many on this road trip.....we took Highway 89 out of White Sulphur Springs, Montana and our next brief stop was at the man made Newlan Creek Reservoir.....

20220621_161653_copy_1600x778.jpg

It only seemed fair to me to make this stop to allow the dogs to have a good soaking too.....

20220621_160905_copy_1600x3291.jpg

The dogs.....they swam and they swam.....and when it seemed like they couldn't do it anymore, they did indeed swim some more.....

20220621_161417_copy_1600x3291.jpg

Eventually I convinced them to come home.....we needed to find ourselves a place to sleep.....

20220621_161403_copy_1600x3291.jpg
 

rfseabc

Observer
At the intersection with Highway 294, we turned right and then drove in a northeasterly direction.....several years ago we had traveled the same route and I recalled a small town, Lennep, Montana, which we had passed by without a stop and I had regretted not stopping.....but this time we did stop.....and we visited that small town.....

View attachment 728245

View attachment 728246

I wondered what the story of Lennup, Montana was.....

View attachment 728247

View attachment 728248

Lennup, Montana appeared to be an abandoned town.....

View attachment 728249

Only the small church.....a small distance off the main road seemed to still be used.....

View attachment 728250

The small sign along the roadway caught my eye so I checked my road atlas and thought that we might give it a go.....

View attachment 728251

We chose to go left..... Castle Town & Cumberlin Mine were now the new goal.....the road looked OK at best.....possibly doable but eventually it would wind its' way up a mountain.....

View attachment 728252

Things were going really well until we reached the next road sign.....from here on the road became somewhat treacherous.....we made it a mile or two.....but eventually we had to turn around.....we slipped around on that muddy road and man was I was ever glad to return to the paved highway.....safely.....

View attachment 728253

That night we found ourselves a beautiful spot filled with song birds & we camped there along the northern banks of the Musselshell River.....

View attachment 728254
The Lennep story; lennep-montana, thanks for the vicarious ticket on your " Journey ".
 
rfseabc.....thanks for the link and I'll check it out shortly. We're holed up in the camper waiting on the high winds to die down.....




We continued driving north on Highway 89 and the goal now was simply to find a spot to spend the night.....preferably with Verizon internet access. We drove quite a few miles that late afternoon / evening and we saw hundreds of excellent spots but nothing with Verizon internet access.....Verizon just does not exist here. Finally at the top of the mountain we stopped for the night.....

20220621_171737_copy_1600x3291.jpg

We parked along the highway.....there was little traffic. It seems as though I've done this for so long now that those perfect overnight spots, those Instagram photo type places.....they just no longer are of much importance to me.....

20220622_061825_copy_1600x3291.jpg

Everything around us had changed as we climbed that mountain.....now surrounded by a dense evergreen forest.....

20220622_061716_copy_1600x778.jpg

20220622_061849_copy_1600x778.jpg

Almost claustrophobic.....and I don't get claustrophobic.....

20220622_061734_copy_1600x778.jpg

The dogs settled in as they always do.....yes that's the kitchen table.....

20220622_060715_copy_1600x3291.jpg

The following morning we were back on the highway continuing north.....made another brief stop.....this one at Memorial Falls.....

20220622_083001_copy_1600x3291.jpg

I was excited to see the waterfalls.....my thinking was that it'll be spectacular with all these recent rains.....

20220622_083051_copy_1600x3291.jpg

20220622_083105_copy_1600x3291.jpg

We hadn't been long on the trail when I encountered this sign.....

20220622_083658_copy_1600x778.jpg
 
Now the trail took us along the meanders of Belt Creek.....

20220622_085146_copy_1600x3291.jpg

Nearly the entire stretch of Belt Creek that we saw, was covered in fallen logs (as you can easily see in these photographs).....but what puzzled me about those fallen logs were the ends of the logs.....they all appeared to be cut by a saw as opposed to being broken by storm damage.....why ? I'm still puzzled.....

20220622_084409_copy_1600x3291.jpg

As we approached the falls I saw tons of those signs asking that visitors not carve up the trees.....and I saw this everywhere that I looked.....

20220622_084931_copy_1600x3291.jpg

If you look closely at these photographs you'll see behind every main tree that I photographed, plenty more carved up trees.....

20220622_085003_copy_1600x3291.jpg

My initial glimpse of the lower falls was something like this.....

20220622_084856_copy_1600x3291.jpg

Maybe I should just be thankful that people aren't carving into the rocks.....yet.....

20220622_090023_copy_1600x3291.jpg

The falls (upper & lower) weren't spectacular in many ways.....yet they were spectacular in their own way.....despite the nearby work of man.....

20220622_084401_copy_1600x3291.jpg

20220622_090111_copy_1600x3291.jpg

20220622_090056_copy_1600x3291.jpg

And we continued driving north.....

20220622_090034_copy_1600x3291.jpg
 
The next stop was in Neihart, Montana .....I have no idea why we stopped here.....possibly I felt like being inconvenienced (the sign).....

20220622_092513_copy_1200x2469.jpg

Neihart, Montana is a former mining town.....there's a bunch of informative signs for people like XP member Foy (you know.....all about the rocks).....

20220622_092420_copy_1200x583.jpg

I didn't even stay here long enough to let the dogs out of the truck so all of these pictures were taken without dogs yanking on the leash (that's probably why you're all of a sudden noticing the high quality photography).....

20220622_092704_copy_1200x583.jpg

As best as I could tell, the jail was the best thing to see.....

20220622_092734_copy_1200x583.jpg

I was surprised at how pleased I was when I realized that I could actually remove that steel pin on the door and go inside.....

20220622_092720_copy_1200x583.jpg

I guess claustrophobic came to mind again.....

20220622_092818_copy_1200x2469.jpg

20220622_092827_copy_1200x2469.jpg

It's hard to believe that people could actually put people into something like this.....but the unfortunate reality is (and we all know it) is that it's still happening today.....

20220622_092856_copy_1200x2469.jpg

And that book.....that's torture right there.....

20220622_092837_copy_1200x2469.jpg

On a brighter note, I did find me some more weathered wood to admire.....

20220622_092617_copy_1200x2469.jpg
 
We continued north on Highway 89 and made our next stop at a roadside scenic overlook above Belt Creek & Sluice Box Canyon.....

20220622_102621_copy_1200x2469.jpg

From that vantage point I noticed a footpath paralleling the meanders of Belt Creek.....we were ready for a hike.....

20220622_124030_copy_1200x2469.jpg

We were all anxious to get out and stretch our legs.....

20220622_124803_copy_1200x583.jpg

20220622_125657_copy_1200x2469.jpg

20220622_125603_copy_1200x2469.jpg

It was nice here.....no people.....lots of songbirds.....

20220622_130022_copy_1200x583.jpg

20220622_130052_copy_1200x2469.jpg

20220622_130224_copy_1200x2469.jpg

Unfortunately after about one mile of hiking, the trail crossed Belt Creek.....and we didn't.....

20220622_125714_copy_1200x583.jpg

.....
so we continued driving north (FWIW later that evening I found an upper trailhead on a map.....we never hiked it but I'm guessing that's the good one).....

20220622_132108_copy_1200x2469.jpg
 
We drove just a few miles further north and made our next stop at the Al Buck Memorial Park .....

20220622_175421_copy_1600x3291.jpg

Al Buck Memorial Park was open for business.....

20220622_180852_copy_1600x3291.jpg

Now this little roadside picnic area had a secret.....and I'll just bet that nearly 100 % of travelers that pass by here never even see it (thankfully).....

20220622_175946_copy_1600x3291.jpg

That little spring just came gushing out of that rock wall and this beautiful little glade was created below it and we (the 2 dogs & I) absolutely loved it there.....it was like this tiny heaven on earth.....the dogs sloshed around in there and dismantled the entire mass of purple flowers and as they floated away they created this beautiful flow of flowers compounded with the sun shining brightly.....believe me.....it was insane beautiful.....

20220622_180316_copy_1600x3291.jpg

There was a wind that afternoon that blew through those massive Cottonwood trees and they released their seeds in the thousands and it was almost as if we were walking in a light snow.....

20220622_175549_copy_1600x778.jpg

The ground was covered in the sparkling seeds.....

20220622_175431_copy_1600x778.jpg

It was a perfect weather day in Montana.....perfectly formed white clouds in every way flowed overhead.....

20220622_175652_copy_1600x3291.jpg

Well.....we really liked this roadside park.....so we decided to stay the night.....

20220623_035235_copy_1600x778.jpg

I was anxious for tomorrow.....tractors and all that good stuff of Montana were just waiting to be admired.....

20220622_131803_copy_1600x3291.jpg

And more weathered wood of course.....

20220622_131748_copy_1600x778.jpg
 
Last edited:

AbleGuy

Officious Intermeddler
These beautiful, enticing pictures of the green, cool northlands are enjoyable, comforting armchair travel for me on the 100°+ days were enduring here, thx so much for your prolific postings.

You find and go to some of the most incredibly beautiful places in the west. Might you ever have the desire to informally lead a small group of others on any of these journeys? You’d be a heck of a wagon master!
 

fisher205

Explorer
Jerry, If you haven’t read Ivan Doig, you may want to look him up. His books are about Montana and “This House of Sky” is about growing up in White Sulphur Springs. “Dancing at the Rascals Fair” and its sequels are some great fiction. Safe travels.
 
AbleGuy.....your weather down there sounds brutal.....it's just the opposite here. I had the heat on for a bit this morning. Regarding your question about me leading a group.....I couldn't think of a worse candidate. I never know when I'm leaving, where I'm going, nor when I'll return. I camp in some of the most God awful places, my dogs are constantly misbehaving, and I'm the perfect example of a loner.....I could go on & on. But I do take your question & comment as a compliment, and I'm grateful for it. Thank you.....

fisher205.....when I saw your post earlier today, I had never heard the name Ivan Doig before. I Googled his name, became familiar with him, poor guy died in Seattle in 2015.....I'm thinking his wish would have been like mine.....to die in Montana. Now it's late in the day and I actually have a story (kinda) about Ivan Doig & my travels, but I don't want to get ahead of myself.....it'll be a few days before I get to that story kinda. Stay safe as well my friend.....thanks.....



That night in the camper I devised a new plan.....so it was that we continued north on Highway 89 with this new plan in mind.....the next town that we passed through along Highway 89 was Belt, Montana.....

20220623_092202_copy_1200x2469.jpg

Just beyond that underpass (shown in picture above), we passed yet another concrete jail building, much like the one that we visited in Neihart, Montana, but this one was covered in beautiful flowers.....it looked more like a flower shop than an old jail building.....it was a happy jail I guess you could say. I wanted to grab a picture but when I looked in the rear view mirror, I saw 2 cowboys riding my bumper so I moved on.....I'm not looking for a gunfight.....

20220623_092516_copy_1200x583.jpg

In Belt, Montana we connected with Highway 331 and we continued driving north / northeast.....

20220623_093403_copy_1200x583.jpg

20220623_094209_copy_1200x2469.jpg

It was yet another sensational weather day in Montana.....

20220623_094149_copy_1200x284.jpg

20220623_093611_copy_1200x583.jpg

20220623_095430_copy_1200x2469.jpg

Eventually the road took us through Highwood, Montana.....

20220623_101046_copy_1200x583.jpg

.....which also had a concrete jail building.....but not quiet as happy as the one in Belt, Montana.....

20220623_101010_copy_1200x2469.jpg

Now there were no more small towns on our route.....just those wide open highways & those big skies that Montana is so well known for.....

20220623_102158_copy_1200x2469.jpg
 
I was in absolute awe of the scenery that surrounded us.....I could post hundreds of pictures here (and maybe I already have.....I don't know).....

20220623_101730_copy_1200x280.jpg

20220623_101809_copy_1200x2469.jpg

We passed another lone antelope in the fields.....

20220623_102109_copy_1200x2469.jpg

.....more silos and out buildings.....

20220623_102652_copy_1200x2469.jpg

Somewhere north of Highwood, Montana, we left the highway behind.....we began traveling on the back roads.....we had a destination in mind.....more old weathered buildings.....

20220623_104118_copy_1200x583.jpg

20220623_104129_copy_1200x2469.jpg

A small herd of antelope kicked up the dust in the uncultivated field.....

20220623_110242_copy_1200x583.jpg

Pretty amazing the machinery that these ranchers have.....

20220623_105414_copy_1200x583.jpg

20220623_104932_copy_1200x583.jpg

And after miles and miles of back road travels, we were almost there.....

20220623_112138_copy_1200x2469.jpg
 
This was our first view of the Missouri River.....

20220623_112737_copy_1600x778.jpg

.....we passed through a small canyon.....as the road took us down to the river.....

20220623_112441_copy_1600x778.jpg

We had finally arrived at the Carter Ferry.....now I had no idea what the process was here.....I pushed the call button and waited.....and waited.....I could see someone on the far side.....someone that appeared to be working in the yard.....

20220623_113147_copy_1600x3291.jpg

We walked around.....took some pictures.....and waited.....

20220623_113028_copy_1600x778.jpg

20220623_113100_copy_1600x3291.jpg

Still waiting.....we backtracked up the canyon and took more pictures.....

20220623_114416_copy_1600x778.jpg

Finally the pilot of the ferry decided to come get us.....

20220623_120023_copy_1600x778.jpg

The 80 year old pilot.....he seemed about as angry a man as I ever have met. Our short ride across the Missouri River went something like this:

These words are from the pilots' mouth as best I can recall.....

"No you can't get out of the truck." (I'm not so sure that's true).

"Is that one of those G D Chinese cell phones you're taking pictures with ?"

"No, I don't have one. You're making the G D Chinese rich buying that. They're taking over this country."

"And the fing Mexicans are all climbing the wall and taking all our jobs."

20220623_120033_copy_1600x3291.jpg

He was pleased that I wasn't from Bozeman, Montana.....that town is "full of A Holes and they're all coming north".....

20220623_120214_copy_1600x778.jpg

For some reason (maybe obvious) that short ferry ride across the Missouri River reminded of the long ferry ride that I took from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland as I was on my way to northeast Labrador.....more than a decade ago.....that trip was, as best I recall, a 5 or 6 hour ferry ride.....I ate a large meal and got seasick.....threw up over the side and felt nauseous as I departed that ferry.....left this one feeling the same.....hate just ain't my thing.....

20220623_121907_copy_1600x778.jpg
 

Foy

Explorer
Interesting to know of the demeanor of the Carter Ferry operator. We found the McClelland Ferry guy to be amiable and the Virgelle Ferry lady operator to be downright effusive.

Heads-up on accessing the McClelland Ferry, especially from the north. Both directions are very steep, and the north side is mostly dirt so it's got to be amazingly slick when wet.

Heads-up #2 if you take a shine to the trail from Winifred to the James Kipp campground on the Missouri at the US 191 crossing. The descent to and ascent from Two-Calf Creek is banzai in both directions. Fun for your Jeep, however.

Foy
 
Foy....."We found the McClelland Ferry guy to be amiable and the Virgelle Ferry lady operator to be downright effusive.".....I agree with you 100 %.....the Virgelle Ferry pilot lady is an awesome lady & thanks for the tips.....



We connected with the main highway and headed east into Fort Benton, Montana to make a stop at the Upper Missouri River Breaks IInterpretive Center.....lots of good stuff to see here.....

20220623_130037_copy_1600x778.jpg

20220623_151738_copy_1600x778.jpg

Then we continued further east and just before the small town of Loma, Montana , we left the highway and headed south returning to the Missouri River.....

20220623_155411_copy_1600x406.jpg

20220623_155403_copy_1600x3291.jpg


We made what I thought would be a brief stop at Decision Point .....we spent the night here.....

20220623_153739_copy_1600x3291.jpg

Right here are some of the most beautiful views of the intersection of the Matas River and the Missouri River .....

20220623_155403_copy_1600x3291.jpg

Everyday now the weather seems to be near perfect.....

20220624_094357_copy_1600x3291.jpg

The first harvest of the seasons has begun.....the grain trucks on the back roads are becoming a much more common sight.....

20220624_094918_copy_1600x778.jpg

We're absolutely loving the life on the road.....

20220624_095447_copy_1600x778.jpg

20220624_095342_copy_1600x3291.jpg
 
Just below our campsite at Decision Point, there's a bridge that crosses the Missouri River.....we took it and drove south, then east.....Google Maps told me that it was a 29 mile drive to the next ferry across the Missouri River.....we weren't in any hurry and we stopped often.....the wheat fields were absolutely incredible as they flowed like waves in an ocean powered by the morning winds.....we loved it here.....

20220624_100920_copy_1600x778.jpg

20220624_100913_copy_1600x3291.jpg


We stopped often to walk along the desolate roads and explore.....

20220624_101330_copy_1600x778.jpg

20220624_101329_copy_1600x778.jpg

20220624_101426_copy_1600x778.jpg

20220624_101438_copy_1600x3291.jpg

Trapper.....she preferred to hunt the field mice along the roads' ditches.....but Tanner.....he's crazy for those wheat fields.....it was nearly impossible to get him to come back.....this is his world.....

20220624_101329_copy_1600x778.jpg

20220624_101426_copy_1600x778.jpg

20220624_101527_copy_1600x778.jpg

20220624_101613_copy_1600x3291.jpg
 

Forum statistics

Threads
180,006
Messages
2,805,634
Members
215,180
Latest member
srockwood
Top