Montana (Southeastern)  

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Hello to my good friend Brandon Stevenson of Ashland, MT
I hope that the ants like their new home.

And may peace and happiness be with my friend David Smith in his journeys 

Starting on August 13, 2002, 8:56:48 AM

I had spent way too much time in Hulett but some of which I couldn't help due to a few storms that blew through the area. But now I must say goodbye to friends, family and such a happy little town. This sign stands in front of a small museum on main street. It reminded me of the sign I found at the Cabot tower in St. John's, Newfoundland. However, with a slightly different agenda I didn't realize that the "Den of Iniquity" was actually that close.

As I drove out of town, just a few miles down the road, I stopped on the side of the highway to take a picture when a young man stopped in a pick-up and asked if I was okay or needed any assistance. Just one final reminder of the kindness and generosity of the people of this area.

Just to the north of Hulett the landscape changed dramatically. Hills with pine trees turned into wide open, rolling plains with tons of wildlife. I found myself stopping so many times that I had to force myself not to. Around every turn was another animal. First I saw some more wild turkeys as they crossed the road and fled into a field. 

Off in the distance, a mother raccoon with a few babies made their way to the shelter of the tree line.

Then there were these large hawks on the fence posts all along the highway. I stopped to take a picture but as soon as I could get close enough they'd take off and fly away. This one here didn't seem to want to relinquish his territory to this human as he circled and circled the sky above me giving me several chances for a few shots of him in flight. 

 

Then there were all the antelope that I remember being quite abundant in this area. 

The sky began to change even more as the landscape was showing signs of an arid and dry region. For such obvious reasons, Montana is known for its "Big Sky". I'm not really sure why it looks so different, but it most surely does. Maybe due to the cool and dry air but the sky there does look huge and vast and certainly beautiful.

The landscape turned more dry and almost barren for part of the drive towards Broadus and to the ranch where I had stayed with my uncle, for a summer, many years ago.

I remember this odd rock formation, just outside of Broadus. I figured that it would have eroded so much more but It didn't seem to have changed a bit.

On my way through to Billings I stopped at a small gas station in Ashland, just east of the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation. I looked up into the sky and, all around the sun, was this small rainbow. I believe "Sun Dogs" is what I have heard them referred to as. 

There at the gas station I met this young man Brandon. Here, showing his hand crafted ant home that he'd just completed.

 

On down the road is the Custer Battlefield. An eerie sight, I had forgotten that this battle took place in 1876. When you think about it, that's not really all that long ago. The fact that man was so malicious and brutal, such a short time ago, puts a strange, sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Which is only amplified by recent events. An odd feeling comes across me as I look at the actual place where this horrible scene had taken place. To actually see where the bodies fell, where they were found, and read the descriptions of the the condition that the bodies were in. As you look you can see the immediate area where General Custer, himself, fell, and then look around the hillsides to find all the other markers displaying where the soldiers and even civilians had lost their lives. After the battle, although many of the bodies were sent back to their origins, a large number of the remaining bodies were buried in a mass grave at the top of the hill. 

 

I finally made it to Billings where I was able to spend a few hours with my uncle Tony Gali. I did enjoy my visit with him and wished that I could have spent more time there. But the sun was setting, the day was ending, and I have so much more to see. So I headed back down the road and back into Wyoming.

As I drove on and into the night the temperature began to drop and I almost decided to stop and put my heavy coat on. But then the temperature rose back up again. It felt quite comfortable so I changed my mind. Just a few miles down the road the temperature dropped again. Making radical changes of, at least, 40 degrees at a time, the temperature kept going up and down again. I drove through a comfortable period only to feel frozen for a while. Then back. These yo-yo temperature fluctuations continued all the way from Billings and up to the border of Wyoming where, unfortunately, it finally leveled out and remained cold until I got to Sheridan.

 

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