02 September 2008

Butte Montana and the End of Summer

July and August in the northern Rockies lull us into a belief that the long, warm, sunny days will go on forever. Then you wake up one morning and the frost has killed the petunias. This is life: a cycle of growth and decline, hopefully a cycle of renewal despite the fate of any individual.

Among wildflowers, it's the time for hardy Primrose (Oenothera sp.):

And on the porches, it's geranium time:

My wife Jan Munday likes to end the summer with a campout near Virginia City, Montana. A ghost town specializing in historical tourism, we like to take in theatre by the Virginia City Players or the bawdy Vaudeville at the Brewery Follies.

We take in the sights:

Stop at the candy store:

And sit out on the deck and have a pint or two with our friends Celia Schahczenski and Jeff Schahczenski at the Bale of Hay Saloon. Life is good:

After the show, we stopped for a steak:

While RTD and Sheikah patiently(?) waited for their leftovers:

And headed to our campsite as the sun set on the beautiful Ruby Valley:

This year, we camped at nearby Branham Lakes. We hiked up to the ridge, where Celia convinced me that we should gather some whitebark pine cones and extract the nuts (much like pine nuts) for Jeff's gourmet cous-cous recipe:

Nothing like some lunch and a nap on the ridge:

Well, not just any ridge, but a ridge with a view:

There are just a few, thin cornices of snow left from last year's winter storms. In the warm sun of a late summer day, they were quickly melting away:

But don't let the sunny, warm weather on the south side of the ridge lull you into complacency. On the north side, a weather front was rolling up the valley and over the ridge:

The next morning was cool and wet, and on the way back to Butte we drove over snowy Pipestone Pass:

And though the front passed quickly, it left snow on the higher peaks and reminds us that change is the nature of life:


Anonymous said...

My family used to go to Virgina City every year when we visited Montana. There were old cars too. That was before the state bought it. Hope it's still just as fun.

We always stayed at Ennis. Branam Lakes looks nice.

troutbirder said...

Great hike to the ridge and pics on both sides. My limited experience at higher elevations in the West left me feeling vulnerable to weather fronts. Here we can see them coming far away.
I was in the Ruby Valley maybe 15 years ago and there were big access issues then particularly with one landowner. I wonder how they were resolved.

EcoRover said...

Hi Troutbirder,

in the late 1990s several Ruby Valley landowners challenged Montana's stream access law. They lost.

More recently, media mogul James Kennedy has increased the stakes. He even tried to co-opt Trout Unlimted National into forbidding local chapters from being involved in stream access. And now he's challenging "We the People" in court.

I wrote about some of this at http://ecorover.blogspot.com/2007/03/james-kennedy-millionaire-media-mogul.html and in a High Country News piece at http://www.hcn.org/wotr/16959 .

Our grassroots group, Public Land/Water Access Association, if fighting the good fight. See http://www.plwa.org/key/PLAAI_newspaper_3v2.pdf .

NCmountainwoman said...

Oh, I'm so glad you dropped by my blog and I found yours. I love it, and will spend a lot of time reading your archives. Since you like waterfalls, check out the May 21 one of High Falls. http://ncmountainwoman.blogspot.com

Cicero Sings said...

Thank you for visiting my Cariboo Walk blog and leaving a comment. I have neglected it sadly over the summer though I have been busy taking pictures for it ... some need identity, sorting and time spent seeking out information ... perhaps this winter! But then there is cross country skiing ... Sigh!

We are at 945 meters here so our growing season is also short. Basically, it is over. Nothing will really grown anymore.

Virginia City, Montana sounds a little bit like our Barkerville! Always fun for a visit, perhaps a little camping if the weather is favourable. It can be mighty cold in them thar hills.

Cicero Sings said...

P.S. I see you have a Sevylor as well. Ours is green. But I have my own, individual inflatable now ... an Advanced Element ... Love it!

Anonymous said...

I hate it when summer ends in Butte. Some years we stay to Halloween. One more snow and we pack up the RV and head for Arizona.

Professor said...

I had no idea about Virginia City- it looks like so much fun! I've got to go there before I leave MT!

Dipu Islam said...

A Frontier Conference co-championship and possibly a berth in the NAIA Football Championship Series will
be on the line for the Southern Oregon football team Saturday when the 12th-ranked Raiders host
seventh-ranked Montana Tech in what promises to be a high-scoring, high-intensity regular-season finale
at Raider Stadium.

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