In search of Kevin Costner…

LOCATION:  Georgetown Lake, Montana
CAMPGROUND:  2nd night at Phillipsburg Bay NFS Campground
WEATHER:  Cold in the AM.  Beautiful until about 5:00, then rain,  High 75

Since it was only in the 40s when we woke up, we turned on the propane heater just for a few minutes.  We have to be conscious about using the battery.  It helped take the edge off.  George made some French toast with some huckleberry preserves for breakfast.

I hiked around the campground.  Since it was so cool, the mist was rising from the lake.  This is the view of the lake from our campground..

We went towards the town of Phillipsburg for our morning hike.  It was labeled the Granite City Ghost Town Trail.  We didn’t realize that we would have a challenge even getting there….

This so-called road makes the other horrifying road we drove a few weeks ago seem mild in comparison.  It was 4 miles on the bumpiest road possible.  Again, it was only wide enough (barely) for one car.  I prayed that another car would not come down the mountain as we were ascending.  The ruts were deep enough to lose a small child in!

At the top of the mountain, we hiked around and discovered the remnants of a town that bustled for about a year in the 1890s as a gold and silver mining town.  This is what remains of the mine…

It looks like about 1000 people might have lived here. It is so hard to imagine how they even found this place, let alone survived.   We saw the foundations of several houses.  This is the only remaining house….

And this is a photo of their union hall, where they had dances, played games, and joined secret societies.

I made George drive  back down as I was still shaking from the drive up.

Then, to Phillipsburg, a delightful and charming town that boomed as a mining town in the mid-1800s, too.  They have retained and restored the Victoria storefronts.  This is the brewery…

And, George took a peak inside.

We asked the brewery server where we could find some lunch.  She recommended the hardware store!  Sure enough, tucked in the back of an old-fashioned hardware store is a lunch counter with 3 stools.  We shared a turkey and bacon sandwich – and it was superb!

Then, on the road again.  George wanted to drive over a high pass to the Bitterroot Trail area.  The map labelled the road:   “ask locally about road conditions”.  This should have been a clue.  After 10 miles of nice highway, the pavement turned into washboard gravel.  We drove 40 miles on this!  I was driving, and averaged about 10 mph.  But, it was a beautiful drive.  We encountered these waterfalls, along with high mountain forests and bubbling rivers…

Once in the Bitterroot Trail area, George found a brewery.  Of course.  This area – the towns of Hamilton and Darby – are where they are filming the TV show “Yellowstone”.  We overheard the bar staff talking about Kevin Costner; apparently he frequents this brewpub a lot.  I thought I may have spotted him, but it was just a Montana cowboy look-alike.

We didn’t want to go back on that same gravelled road, especially since the sky was darkening,  and there aren’t any others that go directly back to our campground.  So, we made a huge circle, about 140 miles, back.  It was also scenic, following the Bitterroot River, then up a high pass, then back down through hay fields. Then it poured.  A very nice, but exhausting drive.

The rain held off long enough to build a campfire to cook our dinner…

DINNER:  Grilled trout.  I just sauteed the trout over the fire in an iron skillet with butter.  We were careful not to overcook.  Side was a sweet potato that I had pre-cooked, when we had electricity, and had wrapped in aluminum foil.  We just placed it in the coals to finish up.  The other side was a patty-pan squash.  Since it doesn’t need so much cooking, I did not pre-cook.  I wrapped it also in aluminum foil for the fire.  Once we finished cooking, the skies opened up and we enjoyed our dinner cozily inside. 

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