Montana, Western US

Montana Summits: Storm Castle Peak

After returning from our road trip, we still had one full day before my flight back to Denver. Never ones to waste a day of sunshine, my mom and I decided to squeeze in one more hike. So we headed down Gallatin Canyon to climb Storm Castle, a 7165 foot (2184 m) summit. This is… Continue reading Montana Summits: Storm Castle Peak

Montana

Montana road trip 2022, part VI: Hebgen, Cliff, Wade, and Earthquake Lakes

(Read parts I-V of this series here.) August 17, 1959. It was a clear, moonlit night in southwest Montana’s Madison River Canyon. Nearly three hundred tourists slept peacefully in various campgrounds and cabins. Nineteen terrifying seconds later, the canyon – and their lives – had been changed forever. At 11:37pm, a magnitude 7.5 earthquake –… Continue reading Montana road trip 2022, part VI: Hebgen, Cliff, Wade, and Earthquake Lakes

Montana

Montana road trip 2022, part V: mining history at Virginia City and Nevada City

(Read parts I-IV of this series here.) On May 26, 1863, six prospectors discovered gold in a region of southwest Montana known as Alder Gulch. Almost overnight, the region went from a secret the men had intended to keep to themselves to a booming mining hub. Settlers rushed to the region, lured by the veins… Continue reading Montana road trip 2022, part V: mining history at Virginia City and Nevada City

Montana

Montana road trip 2022, part IV: Skalkaho Highway and Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway

(Read parts I through III of this series here) When one says the word “highway,” one generally envisions a paved road with two or more lanes and fast speed limits. Montana Highway 38 – the Skalkaho Highway – meets none of these criteria. The present-day path of the Skalkaho Highway is a former trail used… Continue reading Montana road trip 2022, part IV: Skalkaho Highway and Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway

Montana

Montana road trip 2022, part III: getting lost in the Bitterroot National Forest

(Read parts I and II of this series here) I don’t do well when I don’t have lodging reservations for each night of a trip. It makes me anxious. But Lake Como Campground in the Bitterroot National Forest doesn’t take reservations, and we really wanted to stay there, so we were forced to go without… Continue reading Montana road trip 2022, part III: getting lost in the Bitterroot National Forest

Montana, US National Parks

Montana road trip 2022, part II: a somber visit to Big Hole National Battlefield

(Read part I of this series here) On August 7, 1877, a band of approximately 750 Nimiipuu (Nez Perce) arrived in the Big Hole Valley, known to them as Iskumtselalik Pah or ‘Place of the Buffalo Calf.’ They were fleeing the US Army. For over 20 years, the US government had been stealing their land,… Continue reading Montana road trip 2022, part II: a somber visit to Big Hole National Battlefield

Montana, Western US

Montana road trip 2022, part I: Philipsburg, Anaconda, and the Pintler Scenic Highway

After my mom retires in two years, she’s planning to move to Colorado. And while it will be nice to have her so much closer, I’m also sad I’ll no longer have much of a reason to visit Montana on a regular basis. Last summer, I flew home for a week and we road tripped… Continue reading Montana road trip 2022, part I: Philipsburg, Anaconda, and the Pintler Scenic Highway

Montana

Montana road trip 2021, part VI: acoustic geology at Ringing Rocks

The final stop on our six-day Montana road trip was quite possibly the most bizarre place I’ve ever been in my life: Ringing Rocks. Which is – as the name suggests – a collection of rocks that ring… when hit with a hammer, that is. It’s not entirely clear why this happens. Geologists think it has something to do with the composition of the boulders and the way they are all piled up together. If you remove a rock from the pile, it will no longer ring.

Montana

Montana road trip 2021, part V: the richest hill on earth

In Montana, the license plate on your car reveals which of the state’s 56 counties you live in. It’s not a system that most states use, but in a low population state such as Montana it works pretty well. The county numbers were assigned numerically based on population; back in the day, Butte was by… Continue reading Montana road trip 2021, part V: the richest hill on earth

Montana, US National Parks

Montana road trip 2021, part IV: cowboys, old cars, & the prison museum

Next up on our Montana history tour: Deer Lodge, a small town with a surprising amount of history! We arrived mid-morning and our first stop was Grant-Kohrs National Historic Site. This is an old cattle ranch that’s still semi-active. They have horses and cattle on site and park workers give tours, talks, and demonstrations of… Continue reading Montana road trip 2021, part IV: cowboys, old cars, & the prison museum