Big sky, Big hearts, Montana

CAMPGROUND: 2nd night at Goose Bay Marina
LOCATION: Just south of Helena on Canyon Ferry Reservoir
WEATHER: Hot again. High 93

While the day was still cool, we walked around the campground. A lot of the sites seem empty. We later learned that this is because many of the campers commute into Helena each day. I can’t imagine doing that 3–mile gravel road torture so often.

When it heated up (11:00 AM), we headed into Townsend, the closest town, about 20 minutes away. We checked out some of the dispersed camping around the lake. People can camp there, without any services, for free. We would do it, except I really need air-conditioning for a few hours each day.

The first place we visited in Townsend was the library. Libraries in small towns are little gems. This one did not disappoint. When we arrived, however, it hadn’t yet opened for the day. We sprawled out on the floor in the vestibule to use the wifi. Soon the librarian came and kindly invited us in, even though the library hadn’t opened. While she ran some errands, she put us in charge! The library had an entire section of free books, so we stocked up. (We gave the librarian a donation when we left).

On the internet, I was able to find another campground for us to stay this weekend, so we will cancel one night here. It is just too remote and hot here. I also booked a KOA campground for Labor Day weekend. We don’t reallly like KOAs, but for Labor Day, it is pretty impossible to find anything else.

By this time, we were ready for lunch. We found the town’s brand-new microbrewery, only open since July. We took our IPAs upstairs and watched the town’s goings-on from the upstairs windows. We saw a lot of trucks hauling in animals for the rodeo that started today.

The bartender was really nice and gave us menus for restaurants on the main (and only) street. We bought a hamburger (made from Montana beef, of course) and brought it over to the brewery to eat for lunch. Happy, happy.

Then, we checked out the rodeo/country fair. Today was animal-judging for the 4-Hers. It was beyond cute. This little boy was hugging and giving his chicken a pep talk before judging.

Turkeys were next up for judging.

George liked the goats.

The horses will be working this evening for the rodeo.

On our way out of town, we stumbled upon the weekly farmers’ market. We happily bought some local onions, fingerling potatoes, raspberries, romanesco zucchini, and farm fresh eggs. Our timing doesn’t usually work out to catch these markets, so we were quite pleased.

Zipping back to the campground (below the Montana 70 mph speed limit), a mother deer and her baby (still with its spots), jumped right in front of us. George slammed on the brakes and we thankfully missed them. All of our stuff from the backseat came flying into the front. Whew!

DINNER: SPAM slices on the grill. The can has been in my back-up food box since May, so I wanted to use it. Sides were from the farmers’ market – fingerling potatoes baked in aluminum foil on the grill and served with the last of the Walla Walla smoked onion jam. Sauteed onions and zucchini finished up the meal.

Mother Nature provided another spectacular sunset that seemed to last forever. We are obviously in Big Sky Montana.

BOOK: “Cause of Death” by Patricia Cornwell. Similar to her other forensic detective novels, most of which I have read. 8 stars out of 10. Easy to read – picked this one up at a campground exchange library.

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