Saturday, February 26, 2011

Garnet Montana Ghost Town (Is that a ghost in the bottom photo?)

A popular activity for Montana tourists and residents alike is visiting our ghost towns.  Garnet is a well-preserved town that is still used to some extent.  There is a cabin that cross-country skiers can rent.  During the summer months the visitor center is staffed, but the town is open and accessible all year around.

On the road to Garnet (click on photo to open larger view)

A lot of gold was hauled out of the hills around Garnet, and the stories are plentiful.  The visitor center has a number of pamphlets to assist in understanding this part of our history.  The Garnet Preservation website is very informative.

To reach Garnet, drive six miles east on I-90 out of Missoula and take the Highway 200 exit at Bonner (Exit 109), then continue on Hwy 200 for 22 miles until you reach the "Garnet Range Road" turn.  Continue another ten miles on the gravel road and park in the designated parking area. There is an alternate road that comes in from the south, which you can access at the I-90 exit at Bearmouth, but this is forty miles from Missoula and the road is much much harder to travel, and impossible for any kind of camper or RV. It isn't even open much of the year.

My hubby and I have visited Garnet a number of times and we have quite a few photos. (That's him on the overlook photo above.) I will just put up one overview picture of the town, plus one of the GHOST!
Click on the Ghost town overview to open larger view
Below is a photo of one of the old buildings, along with a closeup view that shows a visage I am unable to explain. Ghost?
Who is that in the window?  The ghost of a miner?

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Montana Mountain Mood

View of Montana wilderness from summit of Granite Peak
(Click on photo to open large size view.)
Granite Peak, at 12,799 feet elevation, is the highest mountain summit in Montana. It lies just north of the Wyoming-Montana stateline, in the Beartooth Mountain Range, within the 943 thousand acres of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area.  It is slightly northeast of the northeastern corner of Yellowstone National Park.  The hike to the summit is recommended for expert climbers only, as the very last leg is quite hazardous with a great deal of exposure. 
The photo above, with a mountain goat, appears on the U.S. Forest Service web page for Granite Peak

I've not climbed a mountain, but I did drive the Beartooth Scenic Highway, which goes over the Beartooth Pass at 11,000 feet!  I tried to jog up there, but no matter how deep of a breath I took, my lungs felt empty.  That is pretty thin air!  This is the highway drive that the late Charles Kuralt of CBS "Sunday Morning" and "On the Road" once described as "the most beautiful drive in America."  

"Mountains make the heart beat faster and fill the soul with awe."  --Charles Kuralt

The Beartooth highway links Red Lodge, Montana, with Cooke City, Montana, and is usually only open to car traffic between mid-May and mid-October.  Snowmobiles traverse the highway over the pass to Cooke City in the winter.  That little town is quite the place to visit too.  I recall meeting the Postmaster, a young woman who more or less "volunteered" for the job.  That is perhaps a story for another time.


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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex

Together, the Great Bear Wilderness, the Bob Marshall Wilderness and the Scapegoat Wilderness form the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, an area of more than 1.5 million acres, in western Montana, south of Glacier National Park.  This is a LINK to the U.S. Forest Service site.

The "Bob" is a roadless area where no structures are allowed, nor motorized vehicles or even mechanical vehicles like bicycles. There is no logging or mining.  There are over 1800 miles of trails which are limited to human and animal use.  This is said to be the most densely populated area of Grizzly Bear other than Alaska. Among the wildlife that make their home in this Wilderness area are moose, elk, black bear, mountain goat, wolverine, bighorn sheep, mountain lion, lynx, wolf, and bald eagles.  Camping and fishing are allowed with permits.  Don't travel alone.    

Here is a photo by Max Spiegel, Public Radio Host and musician, who says his visit to the "Bob" changed his life forever:

Bob Marshall Wilderness by Max Spiegel

(Click on Photo and Map above to open larger size views.)

The Life of Bob Marshall is documented in the book, A Wilderness Original by James M. Glover.

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Mount Sentinel, Missoula, Montana. In Winter

(Click on photo to open large size view.)
The trail to the "M" on Mount Sentinel is one of the favorite hikes in Missoula.  There are about fourteen switchbacks and about 1500 feet gain in elevation.  The view is simply wonderful!  Be sure to come and visit us this summer!

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Photogenic Lake McDonald in Glacier Park Montana

(Click on photo to open large size view.)

This photo is from the Glacier Park Facebook 2011 Photo Album page, which is linked.

The western half of Glacier National Park, up to the top of Logan Pass, is absolutely my favorite travel destination EVER (in mid-summer, soon after the Going to the Sun Road is opened for the season).

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Friday, February 4, 2011

Half way to Spring by Golly

We just recently passed by Groundhog Day, which I really pay little attention to, but do acknowledge the day, February 2, as the half-way point between the first day of winter and the first day of spring.

Oh my, but I am so ready for the longer daytime hours of light that we, oh-so-slowly, observe during this time of year.  The only downside will be that the morning light will soon shift to the evening hours as Daylight Saving Time takes effect (all too soon).

This photo of spring flowers in a barrel planter reminds us of the brighter days to come.  Love ya!

Spring Flowers
(Click on photo to open large size view.)

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