After much discussion and consultation of weather and smoke predictions, we made plans for our extra day in the Bozeman, MT area. We decided to follow the “Old West Day Trip” that the Bozeman Convention and Visitors Bureau put out in a brochure. We followed mostly secondary highways and passed through towns like Twin Bridges, Nevada City, Virginia City, Ennis and Norris. The countryside varied from rolling hills to mountains to fields in the valley. Many of those fields were filled with bales of hay, lined up and awaiting pickup. We saw deer, hawks, cattle and horses. There were many people taking a slow float down the river in inflatable rafts. It looked like a great way to be cool when the temps were over 90 degrees. It didn’t feel that hot because the relative humidity is so very low – 5%; great for people but not for wildfire prevention.
The town of Virginia City was fun. It’s an historic old town with many preserved buildings from the days of the Old West. Many of the buildings are on the National Register of Historical Places. There were shops, displays, a free museum, stage coach ride/tour and Boot Hill Cemetery.
We got back after eating a mid-day meal in time to watch the local news and check up on the Madison Arm wildfire. It’s now up to 3500 acres and only 5% contained! We could see the smoke in the distance when we came back today. More firefighters are arriving and they are working feverishly to keep the fire away from the town of West Yellowstone and Yellowstone National Park. Our prayers are with them. The news is on right now and according to the reporter, the area has been declared a disaster area to increase the aid available. The weather news – high temps and swirling, gusting winds – is the worst the firefighters could get. I selfishly hope they can keep this fire from reaching into Yellowstone NP. It is one of my favorite places on this earth.
One of the truly amazing things about Yellowstone is that, although they have huge numbers of visitors, it is absolutely pristine. Unlike much of our nation, you do not see the litter along the roadsides. I know they have people working on clean-up, but I honestly believe that their work is made easier by the reverence that most visitors show for this glorious wilderness. It makes you wonder why people can’t show the same respect for the places where they live and work. Have you noticed the kind of things people toss along the roads? Sure you have the usual fast-food packaging and the ever-popular beer and soft drink containers. But you also see furniture, tires, even a mattress. What on earth are people thinking? Oh, that’s right, same answer as usual – they’re not!
Tonight will be an early one because we have to be up at 4 AM for a 6 AM flight – that is, if Northwest doesn’t cancel the flight. Based on their track record at the beginning of this trip, I do have concerns. They even made the national news due to the number of cancellations they’ve had in the month of June. I hate travel days – they always drain my energy. Probably that’s in part due to the fibromyalgia, but it’s also the “hurry up and wait” of having to get there so early then hang around until flight time. Anyway, only time will tell. I can’t wait to tell you about our day traveling home.