Eighth Day: Montana

This entry is part 8 of 10 in the series South Dakota Trip 2013

Wednesday

Today was the day that we headed to Montana. We planned to visit the Little Bighorn Battlefield, where Custer had his famous Last Stand. We would be travelling from Hulett using Route 212. Today is rather picture heavy, so I will just post up a bunch of pictures from the drive and comment on them.20130612_105456
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Took this picture in Wyoming, showing off their reddish rocks. The soil was actually red too.
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2.
Sorry about the car window, took a lot of these pictures while we were driving.
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3.
This picture showcases the area of Wyoming we were driving through rather well. Vast expanses of forest and grasses, plus some nice hills.
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4.
More Wyoming.
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First picture from Montana. Rather different than those Wyoming pictures! Variety is nice though, the scrublike brush is cool. And it is actually sagebrush too! This is what I mean about the ranches though. I like the look of these ranches more than the look of a farm field.
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6.
In Montana, most of the hills were not red but a kind of yellowy gold, punctuated by brush. It gave a cool look to the hills and a different feel to the landscape.
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Whoever owns this land, I bet that gorge is annoying for ranching, but the land is beautiful.
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8.
The vast views and roads of Big Sky Country. I am sure the night sky would be absolutely amazing out here.
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9.
Throughout our Montana journeys, I noticed a good amount of wildflowers. Not sure what these were (they didn’t look like dandelions to me) but there were some huge patches of them.
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10.
We came upon some low hills that had a lot of trees. This picture doesn’t do it justice, there was some thick forest here. Oh, and I noticed a lot of the trees seemed to be burnt. You can see patches of burnt trees on the right. Did a fire sweep through here in the past few years?
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11.
A small abandoned house of some kind. The towns on this road are interesting. Some of them were literally 10-12 buildings, passed in 20-30 seconds. And, they were still listed on the road signs. We are definitely rather remote, at least for me. I really enjoyed it.
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I don’t remember if this house was abandoned or not, but it has a great view.
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13.
One of the few reddish hills out here. I wonder what the consistency of the rock is, and if it would be possible to scramble/climb to the top.
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14.
A large amount of those yellow wildflowers. It was neat how the color stood out against the grasses.
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15.
This picture was taken from the Little Bighorn Battlefield. This was a fascinating historical place. Many of the graves were placed in the spots that soldiers fell. We spent some time here wandering around and talking to a Park Ranger. It was raining, but no big deal, we just wore rain ponchos! They had detailed signs and some nice memorials to both sides of the conflict. Earlier on, we stopped at a rest stop that had information on various attractions in Montana. We were hoping to have enough time to stop by the Bighorn Canyon. It was advertised as having 1,000 foot cliffs towering over a river. Although we had some troubles finding it, we did get to stop here, and it was an amazing place. There was a large boat launch and swimming area, with a lifeguard on duty. Since this was a Wednesday, we were the only ones here I can remember apart from the lifeguard. This must have been a very relaxing day. He mentioned that he had heard about mountain lions down the canyon. It seemed to have a strong sense of remoteness about it. People take long boat trips down it from here to Wyoming. That would be quite the fun experience.
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This was taken on the road heading down to the canyon.
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17.
This picture shows the part of the canyon that continues on from here. We are at the top side of the canyon. Apparently the cliffs become even larger and sheerer down that way.
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18.
Here is the boat launch and docks. We saw some caves along the cliffs. This would be a really great place to spend more time at, with some kind of watercraft.
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19.
I was taking a video, and my grandmother decided to take a picture of me taking a video of her (taking a picture of me).

I don’t have any other pictures from today (sorry!) but we did see a groundhog at the top of the cliffs. It looked a bit different than groundhogs back in Minnesota though. After we spent awhile here, we had to leave and drove back to Hulett, Wyoming. I had a great impression of Montana, and we weren’t even at the most famous parts of it. The towering mountains are supposed to be beautiful, but we couldn’t extend the trip for another day. It was great being able to be somewhere that wasn’t as populated as Minnesota. I love places that can offer solitude. Night fell as we were coming back, and unfortunately it was cloudy so we couldn’t see the night sky, but it was awesome not having very many street lights. True darkness…

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