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Granite Ghost Story

The wind was picking up. Leaves swirled on the ground, and rattled on the trees. In Granite Ghost Town, high above Philipsburg, the beautiful fall day was quickly turning to winter. The boarded windows of the Mine Superintendent’s house glared out at me as I crept though the trees, looking for good camera shots. Ghostly […]

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Snow Day

A cold wind is sweeping across Southwest Montana and somewhere clouds heavy with snow are forming. Believe it or not, ski season is fast approaching. This post is about a trip I took a few years ago, to my mind the perfect winter weekend. Early one Saturday morning in late January, we started out from […]

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Born of Flame and Ash

In the west, summer means wildfires. From the infamous Mann Gulch fire of 1949 to the 1988 Yellowstone firestorm, Montana’s fires have become the stuff of legends. They have burned themselves into the collective memory of the state, so that someone like me—who was not yet born in 1988—can speak of the Yellowstone fires with […]

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The World’s Most Conspicuous Man

It is impossible to be inconspicuous in Ovando, Montana. This I learned when I drove into town in my flashy rental and there was not another vehicle on the street. I rolled into town around 10:00—the dead hours between breakfast and lunch—and so kept going, following the road to Helmville. The Ovando-Helmville road winds over […]

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“The Uncrowned King of the Celestial Pathfinders” 1

It might seem like another dreary Monday to you, but September 30 has an exciting Montana tale of daring and adventure: By 1911, an aviation craze had utterly engulfed the nation. Air shows happened almost daily, and aviators received celebrity treatment with newspapers studiously recording their every feat. In September of 1911, Helena became added […]

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Ennis Signs and Statues (part 2)

The town of Ennis may very well have more pieces of art per capita than any other small town in Montana. Unfortunately, apparently high noon doesn’t provide the best light for pictures, here are the best: This life-sized sculpture by John Dolan graces the beautiful grounds of the First Madison Valley Bank. Huge fiberglass fish, […]

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Ennis Signs and Statues (part 1)

The storefronts and signs in Ennis serve equally well as advertisements and works of art. Here are just a few pictures of the many fascinating storefronts on Main Street that I took during a recent trip to Ennis. The Ennis Cafe, one of the musts in any visit to Ennis: homestyle food and delicious pies. […]

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Haunting the Ghost Town

We rolled into Virginia City around 9:00 am. Not a single car sat on the street. At the bottom of the hill, the dark windows of the visitors’ center looked blankly out at us. Turns out there’s not much going on in Virginia City at nine on a Tuesday morning. In fact, most of the […]

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