08 September 2009

Labor Day: playing the tourist, at home

Saturday & Sunday, Mrs Rover and I played the tourist with our annual visit to nearby Virginia City, Montana--"frozen in time, a historical gold mining town of the Old West." Along the way, we stopped by Ennis for the annual flyfishing festival, where the park sculpture reminds you of what's really important & enduring (horses & elk hunting):

Like many American cities, Ennis has joined the animal theme sculpture craze, which might have begun in Washington DC in 2002 with its "party animals" (donkeys & elephants) exhibit. In Ennis, the theme is trout. Here are a few of my favorites:

With a closeup of a fluvial Arctic grayling (still a few found in the Big Hole River; the scales & coloring on this model are great, but the proportions are a little off!):

Despite the public art, you still know you're in smalltown America when you can find a redneck pickup truck:

And redneck yard signs (composed using the Redneck Spellers Dickshuneery for "neuter" and "wierd"):

Virginia City is best known for the Vigilantes that hunted down and hanged crooked Sheriff Plummer and 21 other victims (without benefit of trial) in 1864. A few of the graves are marked on Boot Hill (nice touch with the multi-colored plastic flowers):

It's probalby just an accident that most of the Vigilantes were Masons, but the Masonic Lodge was a strong influence in early Montana history (here's the original lodge building in Virginia City; cf. "3-7-77," the number pinned on Vigilante victims, and which still appears on the shoulder patch of the Montana Highway Patrol):

In addition to bawdy entertainment at the Brewery Follies, Mrs Rover got in some holiday shopping at various unique stores, and I could appreciate the, ah, finer points of the old town--such as this coped-corner hand-hewn, log cabin:

Monday was reserved for our solemn Labor Day tradition--a hike in the woods and a couple of hot dogs on a campfire. With a frosty chill in the air the past few nights (and speaking of rednecks), it's hard not to think about hunting season. I should get out for a few days of blue grouse hunting, as the hills are covered with bird food such as Oregon Grape (Berberis repens):

And Common Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus):


troutbirder said...

Looks like a fun day. Our theme in Rochester is Giant Canada Geese. One of the artists is a friend of mine. My dad would have appreciated the Masonic law enforcers as he was a Mason himself.

Janie said...

Interesting trout sculptures. I agree that horses are important and enduring...
Sounds like this was a wild place once upon a time. Gotta love the misspelled sign -- so unfortunately typical.

CountryDreaming said...

The third and fourth trout are my favorites. Impressive workmanship on the log cabin, and it's always good to see berries against the sky. There's so much to see in your (red)neck of the woods! Wish I were there ...

The Hunter's Wife said...

Those fish sculptures are amazing. A few years ago we had ducks around town that had been painted.

Looks like a fun time.

David said...

enjoyed the tour, as always and hunting grouse sounds good, and I will bet its delicious