Yesterday morning we left the scorching desert that was Lewis and Clark Cavern state park and headed north into the mountains. We thought about sticking around and visiting the caverns, but after enduring a hot, dry day with no water for our pooch to swim in we were more than ready to move on.
The exciting news is that when we left the park I drove the truck pulling the airstream for the first time! I know, I know 10 weeks in and this is my first time driving. What can I say, I’m kind of a wimp. I’m pleased to report that I completed my first drive with no incidents and Tim only seemed mildly scared in the beginning. My maiden voyage was short- just a few miles because our route took us on the interstate and I didn’t quite feel ready for that yet. But the road I drove was skinny with a tall cliff only inches from the side of the road. And the speed limit was 70 mph! Crazy Montana roads.
Tim took over when we got to the interstate and I attempted to take some shots out the window as the scenery flew by.
We passed the Anaconda Smoke Stack which claims to be one of the tallest free standing brick structures in the world. It measures 585 feet tall (the Washington Monument is only 555 feet) and 75 feet wide at the top! This mammoth chimney was built by the Anaconda Copper Company as a smelter stack way back in 1919. It stopped smelting in 1980 and is now a state park listed in the National Register of Historic Places. We didn’t drive over to the park, but we got a pretty good view of it from afar, and we greatly enjoyed using the word “smelter” over and over as we passed by.
We arrived at Stuart and Mill Bay FAS around noon and couldn’t have been more pleased by this tiny campground on the shores of Georgetown Lake. This is our first stay at a Fish and Wildlife campground. There are a ton of them all around Montana. Our first day driving through the state we passed at least 20 of these cool signs with a fish and hook. Some are campgrounds and some are just fishing access sites.
Even better than the sign was the view from our site!
We drove around and looked at all of the 16 sites before choosing this one with an open view of the water. All of the sites here have water access, but some lack a wide open view. We also liked this pullthru site, but someone was already in it.
We love campgrounds with self-serve pay boxes.
Phineas was thrilled with our choice of sites and spent the afternoon alternating between swimming and lounging in the sun.
Across the lake is the Discovery Ski Area. As you can see by some of these photos it’s still pretty smoky around here. No surprise since according to the Montana Fire Incident System website they’re burning all around us. We haven’t actually seen any fires but the smoke is becoming kind of bothersome. Both of us have been experiencing scratchy throats and stuffy noses since we entered western Wyoming. At first we thought we had summer colds, but the stuffiness seems to come and go depending on how smoky it is on any given day. The local news tells us that the best way to deal with the smoke is to stay indoors in filtered air. Umm…not really possible in our current living situation so I guess we just have to deal with it until we move out of the area.
I love this photo of the airstream as seen from atop a small hill in the middle of the campground.
Sometime in the afternoon the wind shifted and some storm clouds blew in. The high winds kicked up so suddenly that we almost lost our awning. We went out to put it in and the top of it caught in the wind like a sail. I had to hold on with all my might while Tim got out the ladder to unstick the little lever on the top. Luckily we got it in and no damage was done- phew!
We didn’t mind the rain because inside it was snug and dry…and we had a fresh batch of Chocolate Drenched Coconut Oatmeal Squares.
The first storm passed through quickly and left behind a cool post storm evening sky.
We’re looking forward to another day in this awesome spot before we head north to pick up our mail in Missoula.