Wyoming and MontanaOctober 23, 2020
It’s been about three weeks since our return from our mega trip to Wyoming and Montana. It started off as a typical weekend airstream rally down in Ridgeway, Colorado. From there we left and slowly made our way to Wyoming, then to Montana, and then back through Wyoming. On this trip I shot mostly film totaling 22 rolls mostly 35 mm and 120 format. That’s the good news - the bad news is that I had 22 role to process when I got home! I also had my trusty pixel three for Digital photographs which are helpful when you want to do quick panoramas, take movies and also to document your location using the GPS function of the digital phone.
Highlights include going to
- Dinosaur National Park: the indoor exhibits were closed because of COVID so we didn’t actually see any dinosaurs but saw a lot of very interesting landscape.
-Ten Sleep, Wyoming - a former Indian gathering place - was named by the Indians as how long it takes to get to Fort Laramie-10 days and nights of Horse travel. They have an excellent Micro brewery there.
-Billings Montana with several days spent at the Little big Horn Battlefield. This is a very complicated battle and to fully understand it requires some research. I highly recommend “Last Stand” by Philbrick as a reasonably authoritative book about what actually happened.
-Fort Peck dam in the north east corner of Montana. We headed up staying at the marina with people that were there mostly to fish and use their boats. It was very convenient however. We ended up making a side trip to Saint Marie which is about 60 miles south of the Canada border. The interesting part about Saint Marie is that it is a mostly abandoned town were they never tore down the houses and so they stand in a severely dilapidated state. It used to be an Air Force Base but then the Air Force Base was decommissioned.
Residents were allowed to buy their property but many had no jobs at that point so there was no reason to stay. At some point a group of right-wing radicals decided to buy up all the unpaid taxes in hopes of owning the town. Because they didn’t understand the law they really couldn’t take over the town. Eventually they gave up. Yet the town still stands.
Our next destination was Jackson Wyoming. It has the distinction of having greatest concentration of wealth in a single County anywhere in the United States. It also has the greatest wealth disparity between the rich and the poor; there’s very little in the way of middle class in this community. It was recently the subject of a book called Billionaire Wilderness. We found it fairly claustrophobic because of all the traffic. We did however take a four hour Wild Life tour and got to see lots of wildlife to say the least; this included two gray wolf spottings which the tour guide said she hadn’t seen one in three years.
Our next destination was Manila, Utah which leads us into the Flaming Gorge National Park. The landscape and the geological formations are amazing. From there it was home.