39. Montana

A weekend of camp in the The Beaverhead Lodge National Forest, east of Missoula, south of Drummond. We had acres of land, heat & flies. The camp kept pine-topped mountains to the south. A bald grassy ridge spotted with black cattle to the north. A small 4 bunked cabin and two fiberglass privies. A clear cold stream ran behind the cabin and all set their tents below a row of pines.

After the camp days, trip companion #3, Jillian, joined the drive east. With three in the front cab of the little tan we drove through Butte. Out lady of the Rockies stood at 8500 feet atop the continental divide route.

Fortunately, her 90 foot presence extended alltheway down to highway 80. The likeness is that of mother Mary, but is said to be nondenominational, "for mothers everywhere." The piece will culminate when then they complete a tram from the mountaintop down to Butte. The rides will cost around $10 to stand at her feet.

We found hills a of caterpillars.

Then continued east on 90 through the Crow reservation. Keil flew a jetplane from Billings, MT to Indianapolis, IN. Jill and I took highway 212 past the Little Big Horn battlefield, through the Cheyenne reservation, through Custer National Forest and into Wyoming.

State Stats:

The 4th largest state and one of the least populous. After Wyoming, Vermont, North Dakota, Alaska, and South Dakota, Montana has around 900,000 humans for its 147,000 square miles. Montanans farm wheat & sugar beets, cattle ranch, mine gold, silver, copper, and coal. There are pockets of oil, lumber and tourism. The highest point is 12,799 feet. The animal is the grizzly B, the state has around 800 of them. The flower is the bitteroot, the tree the Ponderosa P.