Sunday, June 28, 2009

Day 25 Perry’s RV Park, Beartooth Highway, Chief Joseph Highway, Downtown Red Lodge, Montana

Captain’s Blog

June 27, 2009

We were up and out the door by 9 AM to traverse Beartooth Highway and all its glory. Ron got some video of two deer outside our MH window. Around 5:00 AM. One was watching every move he was making. So far, no moose sighting. I guess that’s good. The temp was 46 degrees when we left and as we climbed the mountain the temp continued to drop to a chilling 35
degrees with 40 mph winds. Despite the chilling temps spring flowers were everywhere.

Words cannot describe the beauty of what we encountered and the spectacular vista. I think our mouths were hanging open at every turn and all we kept saying was WOW!!!!! Pictures cannot take in the beauty of the place because you have to experience it to believe it. I don’t know what else to say except, spectacular, stupendous, beautiful beyond imagination. A place that makes you feel miniscule against its size and glory. The landscape goes on forever and ever and the vastness of it, indescribable. The East Summit, the highest peak on the trail was 10,936 feet, and was also the coldest and windiest.

Along the route we ran into a group of runners in an eight-mile uphill race. Good luck to them because it was a very steep uphill run. There were motorcyclists, a corvette club and many bicyclists along the highway. Hopefully they were able to take in the beauty and enjoy it as much s we did. We also ran into a summer snowboarding/ski class. Let me tell you there is no way we would have gone down that slope!!!!

Just before turning on Joseph’ s Highway we passed over a bridge with an incredible waterfall. There was no stopping on the bridge so we turned around and found a lovely trail leading to the falls. Of course we took the trail and were not disappointed. The falls were nothing short of monumental and, running at warp speed, the falls were like a huge foaming caldron. What a great find.!!!!!

After completing that 60 miles of the Beartooth Loop ( many more miles run through Yellowstone) we continued down Joseph’s Highway offering vistas of a different kind. The mountain ranges were very different then those at Beartooth but no less spectacular. Behind the peaks of the mountain range on Joseph’s
Highway you could see the snowcapped peaks of Beartooth. The altitude was lower and the air warmer but the switchbacks along the route no less challenging. Ron was glad he didn’t attempt the ride in the MH towing our Jeep. We stopped for lunch at a viewpoint, enjoying the view and the quiet.

Chief Joseph Scenic Byway is so named because this is the route that Chief Joseph and his band of Nez Perce took through the Clark’s Fork River and out into the Bighorn Basin the Fall of 1877 during their legendary flight from the U.S. Army. The route is now a popular trail for wildlife migration and for American Indians journeying from the region west of the Continental Divide to the Buffalo hunting grounds of the Great Plains.

Dead Indian Hill overlook at the summit offers views of Sunlight Basin, Absaroka Wilderness, the Clarks Fork Canyon and the Beartooth Plateau presenting a panorama of soaring heights, plunging canyons and vast valleys. Look closely at the roads and switchbacks in the pictures. You can double click on the pictures to make them larger. Sunlight Creek is on the highest bridge in Wyoming and walking across the bridge gave us a fantastic view of the gorge between the granite Beartooth Plateau to the north and the volcanic Absaroka Mountains to the south. The total triangle with the start and end at the CG was 142 miles taking us six hours to complete; well worth every mile and minute.

We then visited the town of Red lodge. It’s a very interesting and pretty little town with many old buildings and unique architecture. (Notice the beautiful police station- we’re trying to say away from them).) Red Lodge was a mining town for many years and fell to its ruin after the mining industry closed down. It then became a stop on the way to Yellowstone and is now a hot spot for tourists with all the usual tourist trap stuff and high prices.

While in town we saw three different brides/grooms and wedding parties. The first was being transported in a covered wagon and the groom wore jeans and a tuxedo jacket, the bride a simple cream - colored dress. They were dropped off at al local saloon for their reception. The second bride and groom were dressed a little more formally and were having their photos taken in the middle of the street. The third pair were the most formally attired entering a church to be wed. It was a busy wedding day in Red Lodge. Might I add, all the brides were very pretty and grooms handsome.

The most interesting character from Red Log was “Liver Eating” Johnson who became the sheriff of Red Lodge for time. The descriptive title resulted from his terrible rage and subsequent revenge after a band of roving Indian warriors massacred his pregnant wife while he was on a trapping expedition. He determined it was the Crow Indians responsible and then he determined to kill as many Crow as possible and to eat a part of their liver. He carried out his gruesome oath with a terrible vengeance, killing dozens of Crow warriors and leaving their mutilated bodies as warning to fellow tribesmen. The Crows handpicked twenty of their most fearsome Warriors and instructed them to leave their villages and to only return upon the death of Johnston. Johnston eventually killed all twenty of the Warriors, the last one nearly fourteen years after they began hunting him. (Johnston was 6’4’’tall , weighed 250 pounds and was a relative of Buffalo Bill)

Johnston also served in the Calvary but was severely reprimanded for taking the scalps of Seminole and Cherokee Indians who fought and died in battles near Newtonia, Missouri, where the Seminoles fought for the Confederates and the Cherokees for the Union Army. After discharge from the Army he returned to his mountain life and later became a Marshall In Red Lodge. He died in 1900 at a veterans’ home in Los Angeles and was later interred at Old Trail Town, Wyoming.

r0n NOTE:

The Owner of the campground was somewhat of a colorful character. He lives in San Francisco during the winter and hear at Red Lodge from June thru October. He is putting a lot of money into this Campground via upgrades and landscaping, it is a grate place right on the creek. He sold his 8 auto repair shops in San Fran and it looks like he is putting his efforts into this campground. He also stated he would move out hear but his wife would divorce him.


No comments:

Post a Comment