Camping Trips in Montana

We had the chance to go tent camping a couple of times. Our first trip was to Lost Creek State Park. IMG_9771

With gray limestone cliffs towering over 1,200ft high on both sides of us, our camp spot was perfectly located.IMG_5357IMG_9825

Lost Creek Falls, cascading 50ft.over the limestone, was an easy hike to view.IMG_5369

A beautiful trail north of the falls winds through the forest.IMG_9790

We just hiked to the bridge, crossing Lost Creek.IMG_9799

The water was cold and clear.IMG_9812

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Our second trip was to Thompson Falls State Park. IMG_0079

This small state park is located right next to The Clark Fork River. IMG_0040

The temp. was well into the 90’s, making the river a refreshing place to escape the heat.IMG_0039

Our camp spot was located amongst the tall pines.IMG_0036

The falls are now damned up, producing electricity for the nearby communities and beyond.IMG_6741

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A walking bridge crosses the water and goes to an island.IMG_6684

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Lets Volunteer !

We’ve always talked about volunteering. Since we started traveling, our goal was to help at a National Park or similar place. Well, we are fortunate enough to have landed a volunteer position at Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site. For three months, working at the ranch has been tons of fun. We work three days, then have four days to explore the area in and around Deer Lodge, MT. IMG_9538

We greet visitors at the visitor center/ gift shop and give historic house tours. IMG_9624

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I somedays get to be a chuckwagon cook, talk about the duties of the cook and make cowboy coffee.IMG_E9944

We have learned a lot about the history of the ranch and Montana ranching.

It’s been a great experience, a beautiful place to volunteer and we’re looking forward to next year here.

 

Branding Event at Grant- Kohrs Ranch, MT.

Grant- Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site was branding about 55 calves today. So, we watched how they brand cattle.IMG_6208 Branding dates back to the ancient Egyptians. It’s used for identifying cattle owners. Modern day branding uses different techniques. This ranch stays true to the 1800’s way of branding, making it very interesting. IMG_6244 (2)Grant- Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site is the only site within the National Parks System specifically designed to tell the story of the western frontier cattle era and its role it played in shaping the history of the U.S.IMG_6220

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I think the calves were more upset about being temporally separated from their mamas then the actual branding!

 

Bannack, MT.

Now a National Historic Landmark, the ghost town of Bannack started in 1862 with a population of 10,000 at its peak. The last residents left here in 1972. Today it’s a well preserved, historic town that can be enjoyed by a self walking tour. IMG_9372 (2)

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About sixty buildings remain, making this old mining town a fun place to explore.

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Schoolhouse and Masonic Lodge

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Methodist Church , circ. 1877

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The Hotel Meade

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A ghost in the hallway?

 

 

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Although abandoned, the ghost town feel has been preserved!

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Flaming Gorge Natl. Rec. Area, WY.

IMG_5909Located in the northeast corner of Utah and southwest corner of Wyoming, the Flaming Gorge NRA offers a 91 mile reservoir, many campgrounds, biking, paddling, hiking, boating and fishing. A dam was constructed in 1964 across the Green River, generating 50,650 kw of power using three turbines.IMG_9331

We only spent one day exploring, but in that short amount of time, we saw some spectacular scenery. IMG_5973

 

The name Flaming Gorge was given by John W. Powell during his 1869 expedition down the Green River.IMG_5911

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View from Red Canyon Overlook.

 

We had a great time driving around this beautiful area. If you’re ever in this part of the US, its a must stop.IMG_5974

Mueller State Park, CO.

IMG_9155 (2)After flying to Chicago and Detroit to celebrate our grandsons’ 3rd birthday, we returned to Colorado with him, our daughter and son in law to go camping.IMG_9237

 

 

The campground was close to Cripple Creek, so we went for a ride on the Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad.IMG_9253

 

Mueller State Park Campground offers over 5000 acres of beautiful forested ridges and granite rock outcroppings. Pikes Peak provides the backdrop.IMG_5716

 

We always have a great time in Colorado and look forward to the next camping trip!IMG_5711

 

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Moab, UT.

While staying at Archview RV Resort just north of Moab, we had the pleasure of family joining us. My sister Kathy and her husband Randy brought their fifth wheel and four wheelers from Montana for a weeks visit. We had side by side sites and enjoyed each others company.IMG_8880

Our first adventure out on the 4 wheelers was Gemini Bridges trail. Its a nice, easy 4 wheel drive road to get used to the machines.IMG_8670

Having a blast along the way, we made it to Gemini Bridges. IMG_8630

 

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There was a little static in the air, and storm clouds were rolling in!IMG_8682

So, we put on our rain cloths and waited out the storm.

 

Our next road trip adventure was to Chicken Corners. We rented a side-by-side for the day, then headed over Hurrah Pass and onward……!IMG_5451

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The trail was challenging but so much fun!

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This section was easy

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Randy had to move a small rock out of our way so we could proceed!

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This was the view from Chicken Corners 

Another trail we tried to conquer was named Metal Masher. This one was a bit too tough for us rookies. Kathy and Randy helped us through the hard parts!IMG_8810

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It’s not as easy as it looks!

 

 

 

 

 

We took a trail that leads to dinosaur tracks near the RV resort.IMG_8865

 

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Another great day of 4 wheelin’ !

We spent a couple of hours hangin’ out around town.IMG_8858

 

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This bridge, located in Lions Park, crosses the mighty Colorado River.

 

Thank you Kathy and Randy for joining us and making our Moab visit special. We had so much fun with you guys. Love Ya!IMG_5424

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Arches National Park, UT.

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At 77,000 acres, this park is much smaller than Canyonlands, but much busier! We entered the park early morning, therefore avoiding the long lines at the entrance gate. Once in the park, the paved roads made it easy to see some of the arches from the car. With over 2000 arches in the park, its the largest concentration of natural arches in the world. To really experience the true scale of these amazing formations, you need to hike!  IMG_4702

Devils Garden Trail led us to arches named, Double O, Navajo, Partition and Landscape.

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Partition Arch

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Landscape Arch

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Navajo Arch

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Double O Arch

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Landscape is the longest arch, spanning 306 ft. from base to base.

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Hiking on a fin to Double O Arch.

Hiking the Delicate Arch trail starts with a view of a rock art panel left behind by the Ute People.IMG_5688

The trail continues up slickrock, gaining 480 ft. with exposure to narrow, steep cliff drop-offs.IMG_8937

After about 1.5 miles, you get a view of the arch.IMG_8952

At 52 ft. tall, this free standing arch is the most recognized landmark in the park.IMG_5078

The Olympic torch relay for the 2002 Winter Olympics passed through this arch!

 

 

 

Seeing the vast canyons and rivers of Canyonlands, hiking the incredible trails inside Zion, observing the amazing power of erosion in Bryce, imagining the violent forces of movement within Capitol Reef and witnessing first hand the sheer size of the arches throughout Arches National Park, the Mighty Five National Parks of Utah left us in awe, and a yearning to return for more adventure!

Canyonlands National Park, UT.

IMG_8771This 338,000 acre park is a colorful canyon cut out by the Colorado and Green rivers with mesas, buttes, fins, spires and arches. The rugged landscape of this park is divided into districts; Island in the Sky, The Needles and The Maze. We spent all our time in Island in the Sky. The others are very  remote. There are no roads connecting them together. IMG_5526

Driving the 34 mile road on top of the mesa gives easy access to hiking trails and pullouts for viewing the spectacular scenery.IMG_5588

We hiked to Mesa Arch, Upheavel Dome and Grand View Point.

 

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At 1200 ft. below, the White Rim is a bench made up of sandstone.

 

A trip to Island in the Sky would not be complete without a drive on The Shafer Trail Road. This 18 mile road has switchbacks and is extremely steep! I think this is the area where Thelma and Louise went over the cliff! It was defiantly an adventure and we’ll probably never drive it again. At least not in our Chevy Trax!IMG_5060

Canyonlands was amazing to see and experience. The sheer remoteness and ruggedness of the park leaves you awestruck!IMG_5549