Big Sky Country

Your’s Truly w/Montana Friends

There they are, as if time stood still. They haven’t changed a bit, and they said as much of us as well. All the goats, except Clark, are named after powerful women. One sheep, Gary (not shown), later came out of the barn, curious as to who these two mangy Alaskans were. She (yes, She) was recently fleeced. Once she got over her wariness of us she moved close and enjoyed being petted. On Saturday the four of us went to the Montana folk festival where we ate, drank, and danced the day away. My personal favorite was Sugaray Rayford letting loose with a mesmerizing rendition of Comfortably Numb (Pink Floyd).

It was a beautiful thing seeing all those folks in the mosh pit, bodies swaying, arms waiving. And not just Boomers! If Butte, Montana’s best days are behind it you wouldn’t know it to experience this festival. What a great time we had.

Sugaray Rayford @ Montana Folk Festival

On Monday we visited the Lewis & Clark caverns state park. Why L&C are the namesake of the caverns is a little odd. They were actually first discovered in 1892 by two hunters long after L&C passed through (ca. 1807). During the New Deal era the caverns were made accessible to the public largely through the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Don’t visit here if you’re claustrophobic. After you enter the cave (a hole in the side of the mountain) you descend a few hundred steps pretty deep into the bowels of the cavern network. Crawling on all fours is sometimes required to passage from one cavern to the next. There are now a few lights to guide the way, but absent those it’d be pitch black like you’ve never experienced. At one point on the hour long tour our guide, Ranger Shane, told the story of a CCC employee who’d gone into the cave alone with only a primitive flashlight and twelve matches to light a candle he’d taken along. At the very spot we stood, Ranger Shane said this guy’s flashlight died and shortly thereafter he’d used up all his matches. He was found several days later by a team that had gone in looking for him, cold and curled up in a ball on the brink of madness. A state of mental anguish guaranteed to any human held hostage to permanent dark. To drive home the point, Ranger Shane clicked off all the lights. It wasn’t more than fifteen seconds and we were all like, “OK, got it. Lights back on please.”


Ranger Shane
Before The Lights Went Out!
So-called “Cave Bacon.” Everything’s better with bacon, even caves!