Anyway, we hit the road for Butte, MT. Before we had gone too far, we ran across Quake Lake. This is a lake that was formed due to a massive earthquake/landslide that occurred in 1959. An entire campground full of people was swept away and the river valley was turned into a lake. Dead trees protrude up from the water in a ghostly way. Reminder: Click photos to enlarge.
The drive was nice; we enjoyed seeing wide open spaces and beautiful mountains as a backdrop. Now these guys have big yards!
We stopped along the way in Ennis to have breakfast and did a little shopping for some Montana products but pressed on as DH was scheduled for dialysis in Butte in the mid-afternoon. I have to say that Butte really surprised me. We had scheduled it as a dialysis stop and I hadn't thought of it as a place that would really be interesting. I was pleasantly surprised.
While DH was busy, I checked into our B&B, which was very nice, and took a long walk around the neighborhood. There seemed to be snow-capped mountains on every side. Lovely to see.
The weather was great for my walk, which was a nice surprise after the rain/snow/sleet we had run into the day before. We found a nice restaurant for dinner and then went to see a memorial to some miners who had died in a mining disaster. The memorial was at the top of a hill and was very tasteful. You could also look over the edge to see the open pit mine that took the place of the shaft that had been there originally. Learning about the mining history of Butte was fascinating, since we hadn't really been exposed to that industry before. Seeing the pits that continue to be mined reminded us how lucky we are to live in an environment that isn't dug out and scarred like that.
The next day, we visited some other local sights we found out about. The Clark Mansion was fascinating; I recently read Empty Mansions, which recounted the history of the Clark family. William Clark, Senator, banker, and investor in copper mines, built the house originally. Most of the furnishings are not original, but the architecture and details are amazing, as is the size. The "tour" signs take away something from the elegance, however.
We went on to the campus of Montana Tech (go Orediggers!) Isn't that a great name?
It's built right beside an abandoned mine shaft, the Orphan Girl. There are preserved buildings from the former camp, and you can walk around the old equipment and see what life would have been like to work there. They also offer an underground tour of the mine shaft, but we passed. Hello, can you say claustrophobia? We finished our tour of the yard right before the sky opened up with another cloudburst of rain and hail.
We pressed on then, to Coeur d'Alene, ID. It was nice to get back to some more familiar Northwest scenery, and the right time zone! The weather was beautiful here and we had a very long walk on a nice, new trail that is being finished along the river and lake.
Then it was finally the day to go home! We had a wonderful trip and saw so many amazing things, but two weeks on the road is a long time. As we drove from Idaho into Washington, the sights became more familiar. There was still range land and prairie, but farms, too.
The Columbia river:
We neared Central Washington where Mr. Hollywood went to school and stopped at a favorite restaurant there for lunch.
Then it was less than two hours to home. Our little house made it through the winter and looked great. We were happy to unload the car (and make it possible again to see out of the rear-view mirror.)
Then we had to check out the back. The yard was hardly finished when we left last fall and we're looking forward to a great summer here.
And now I sit here writing this on the patio and looking out at this great view. It doesn't get much better than this!