Driving Montana

I feel like Richard Hugo lately, “driving Montana” and finding myself stopping in some interesting small towns. (for anyone who hasn’t read The Lady in Kicking Horse Resevoir, even if you think you don’t like poetry, I recommend it. It was nominated for the National Book Award and has been called groundbreaking, but mostly I just like its descriptions of Montana cities.) Now all I need is a Buick convertible like Hugo, and I’ll be all set.

A couple weeks ago, I spent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday traipsing around Glacier National Park in the rain for a photo workshop in conjunction with UM’s Wilderness Institute. I learned a ton about composition, lighting, and photography in general from the instructor, Tim Cooper, and laughed more than I have in some time with the random, but hugely entertaining, group of fellow workshop attendees. But more than anything, I felt the weekend was a success because I was finally spending some time in Glacier, not just passing through. To have something so lovely and so breathtaking so close by for so long and not take advantage, other than the odd shot through the window while driving the Going to the Sun, seems a real travesty. One of the perks of being unemployed is the nearly unlimited time one has to spend doing things that have been on the mental “to do” for some time.

In the same vein, tomorrow I am heading off to Butte, Montana. Yes, it has been the butt (pun intended) of a number of Beavis and Butthead jokes over the years and is the site of The Pit, which I believe still holds the title of the biggest EPA cleanup site in America. But it’s also a pretty fascinating city historically and a place I’ve never been, other than sporting events in which I saw little more than the inside of the gym (always thought purple was an interesting mascot choice).

Journalist Edwin Dobb wrote, “Like Concord, Gettysburg, and Wounded Knee, Butte is one of the places that America came from.” I’m looking forward to playing tourist for a day, tooling around historic homes including the Copper King Mansion, wandering around Uptown Butte, maybe stopping into the Mai Wah Society, and staying at the Finlen Hotel. It’ll be fun.

(and hey, if I really get desperate with the job search, it looks like Butte could use a web designer!)

And then one of these days, I will actually get around to posting some photos. And maybe some Hugo while I’m at it.

Wish me luck in Butte, America!

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3 responses to “Driving Montana”

  1. Khaldolun


  2. Eamon Cormac O Foolihan

    To be precise, the upper end of the largest Superfund complex in the country, a good place for a reclusive bohemian like myself to pitch his life…

    Be sure to visit Walkerville, in particular, East Walkerville, home to all manner of misfits, and within shouting distance of the Granite Mountain-Speculator Memorial and the ravaged but hallowed ground over which it stands vigil.

    If you’d like any other tips, let me know.

  3. Fred

    If you are interested in a really unique place to eat in Butte, try the Pekin Noodle Parlor. It’s like going back to the early part of the last century.