Part 19: Cody, WY to Victor, MT


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The Trip

We finally bid farewell to Bob and Sandy and headed north toward Billings, MT.  We had some business in Billings, namely a visit to Rand's Hats to confirm the parameters of my hat order.  After the hatter, we crossed the street to visit a local distiller and met the master and tested his wares.  We finished with a nice steak dinner at Jake's in downtown and then headed to our camp for the next few days.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

We stayed at the Billings, MT KOA right on the Yellowstone River.  We had a nice spot with shade which was welcome in the warm afternoon sun.

The Billings KOA is a well-kept place with plenty of mowed grass and shade trees.

The following morning, we decided to do a day trip from Billings to see Pompey's Pillar and Pictograph Caves.  Pompey's Pillar is a national monument dedicated to some graffiti left by Lewis and Clark on their transcontinental expedition back in 1806.  The above item is a recreation of one of the dugout canoes used by the expedition members to haul cargo.

Pompey's Pillar is nothing more than this unremarkable sandstone butte.  The carvings in the stone are on the upper right portion of the bluff.

From the stairs we could see some of the BLM firefighters removing a tree that had shifted and was in danger of falling on the walkway.

Near the top of the walkway some of the carvings were visible.

Some of the carvings are recent others much older.

William Clark's inscription was covered by a weather shield.

From the top of the bluff we had a commanding view of the Yellowstone River valley to the east.

Everything was in bloom.  This dandelion still had all its petals.

The blooms on the bushes attracted squadrons of bees in search of pollen.

Our path back to the truck took us past the banks of the nearly-flood-stage Yellowstone River.  Note the amount of silt in the water from the recent hard rains.  The river was hauling huge tangles of downed trees and brush that had been washed into the river during the rains.

This little snake had me dancing a jig.  I saw him out of the corner of my eye and my brain said "rattlesnake" and the dancing started in earnest.   Once I was out of range and looked to see what it was I was relieved to discover that it was no threat to me.  The snake went his way and we went ours.

Our next stop was the pictograph caves state park.  Both the caves and the pictographs were rather underwhelming.

The short hike from the parking lot showed us many mud dauber nests on the cracks in the cliff.

The pictographs were heavily damaged by water seepage.  The seeps were causing the surface of the rock to flake off taking the pictographs with them.  The shot above is the best-preserved portion of the cave.  Visible are red figures that look like rifles.

In the other caves, nearly all the pictographs had flaked off revealing spherical inclusions of harder sandstone buried in the cliff walls.

We left Billings and headed west on the interstate.  In the distance we could see the Crazy Mountains outside of Big Timber.  The recent rains brought plenty of snow to the high country resulting in a magnificent panorama.

We rolled to Bozeman, then south and west to Red Canyon on the Madison River.  We found a great BLM camp right on the river.

The view from the door of our camper.  The river was flowing bank-to-bank.

The next morning we broke camp and continued to the west.  Our path took us over the hills via a dirt road.

Further west at Chief Joseph pass the rain turned to snow making things exciting.

We crossed the pass and headed north through the Bitterroot Valley to Chas and Vanessa's ranch outside of Victor, MT.  The best camping site was right outside their side gate.

Since our last visit to their ranch, Chas had a nice garage built to house his toys.

The ranch has a great view of the Bitterroot Range to the west.

Except for our time in Cody, we had great weather.  It did rain a bit in Victor, but nothing substantial.  What we DID get in Victor were huge, choking clouds of pine tree pollen that wafted down on our heads with every little puff of wind.  In some places the clouds of pollen were so thick that it obstructed our line of sight.

We greatly appreciate Chas and Vanessa's hospitality for letting us stay at their ranch.

Tomorrow, we head north toward Flathead Lake.

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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2019, all rights reserved.
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.