Post written by Cassandra Garrison, Real Estate Loan Specialist
Montana is known for its’ snow-capped mountains, winding rivers, vast plains, rugged badlands, and wide-open sky. I’ve travelled many places, but nothing seems to compare to being at home in Montana amongst our beautiful scenery and seeing our unique sunsets.
My love for exploring and adventure sprouted at a young age, seeded by two adventurous spirits – my mom and dad. My dad’s appreciation for history, especially Montana’s history, meant sharing stories with me about lost treasure, old mining towns, western outlaws – stories that fascinated me, and made places we visited in Montana seem almost magical as a kid.
My mom, being an outdoors woman, loves to explore new places, and share fun times together as a family.
Together we would spend most weekends during the summer as a family going somewhere new in Montana. It’s why I always looked forward to summertime.
It meant camping in the mountains underneath a star-studded sky where you can vividly see the Milky Way, floating the rivers, visiting historical sites, hiking into wilderness territory to discover old hidden mines and cabins – it was my wonderland as a kid, and I had the opportunity to explore it all growing up in Montana.
Now that I have children of my own, I look forward to passing on this tradition for adventure and exploration, and sharing the same stories and experiences with my children.
So whether you’re going to be visiting us from out-of-state, or staycation-ing in Montana this summer, Id’ like to share with you in Part 1 of this series a couple of my favorite places in Montana to visit, starting in Southeastern Montana:
- Medicine Rocks State Park
My grandparents’ ranch is located just south of Baker, Montana, and one of my favorite places to visit as a kid is located not from our ranch. Hidden away in the plains of Southeastern Montana along Highway 7, between Baker and Ekalaka, is a unique landscape of “swiss cheese rocks” made from sandstone formations that have endured weathering over time to create a marvelous hiking playground. Considered a sacred holy place by the Plains Indians, the park was a place of “big medicine” where Indian hunting parties gathered.Now the park is a place for visitors who want to explore the 60-80 feet high sandstone pillars riddled with holes, tunnels, Indian pictographs, and inscriptions carved by travelling settlors during the late 1800s. Theodore Roosevelt called Medicine Rocks “As fantastically beautiful a place as I have ever seen.” For park information you can visit here: http://stateparks.mt.gov/medicine-rocks/
- Evelyn Cameron Gallery & Museum
Most Montanans have heard of the famous American West painter, Charles Marion Russell; better known by his friends as Charlie “Kid” Russell. (Also whom my father was named after) However, not many have heard about the British-born photographer, Evelyn Cameron, who followed her Scotsman husband, Ewen Cameron, to the plains of Eastern Montana because of his obsession for polo ponies. The couple moved to the area now known as Terry, Montana during the late 19th Century, and Evelyn spent the next 30 years documenting the life of early settlors through an old glass-plate camera. Her photographs of the old west Montana prairie showcase cowboys, sheepherders, weddings, river crossings, freight wagons, and the winding badlands. Along with viewing her gallery, you can also read excerpts from her diary, all on display within the Prairie County Museum located in Terry, Montana. Want to do some ghostbusting while visiting? You can stay a night in the haunted Kempton Hotel, that has undergone some recent renovations. Also nearby Terry, MT is Calypso Trail, an old boot-legging trail that winds through part of the badlands. For more information you can visit here: http://visitterrymt.com/website/EvelynCameronStory.htm or here http://www.visitmt.com/listings/general/museum/prairie-county-museum-and-evelyn-cameron-gallery.html
Of course, there are many more wonderful places to see in Southeastern Montana, home to the heritage of Stockman Bank’s roots, and we will continue the list of places to see across Montana in future posts.
Our state’s terrain is diverse and wonderful, and with several National Parks, numerous historical sites, and lakes to fish, it would be impossible to visit everywhere in one summer.
What about you? What are your favorite places to visit in Montana?