Day 8: Roughing It, Sorta.

posted 5 Aug 2005, 10PM | 4 Comments

Something oddly satisfying about typing on a laptop in the middle of a campsite.

We left Missoula early yesterday morning, and finally saw the historic side of the town; it turns out (unsurprisingly) that we�d been staying in its newish industrial stripmall realm. Down the road, Butte, Montana is quaint with its boarded bungalows and brick buildings: big banks and brown bars and some kind of business called a �bootery�. We took a couple of laps through the "Uptown" main street area looking for food, but the bakery had closed years ago. Locals seem to prefer the stoplights, Subways and Best Buys of progress to their own history.

Excellent drive down towards Montanas southeastern edge; route 90 bisecting a broad grassy valley flanked by fir-encrusted mountains. I always thought of cowboys as belonging to Texas, but it seems theyd be much more comfortable on the Montana hillside, with infinite grass and long sunsets. I suppose the winter here kills you, but otherwise I think Id really like to live here. I suppose it cant be any worse than the February were likely to face in New England. I wonder if land is cheap?

The little town of West Yellowstone keeps up a tourist facade and I kept expecting to see Paul Bunyan or the OK Corral. I liked the painted signs. We loaded up on a few camping supplies and food, then backtracked a few miles here to the Campfire Lodge Resort, where wed already picked out a nice campsite. The Madison river runs just below our tent, and everything sounds and smells fresh. With showers nearby, were not exactly roughing it. We cooked up salmon, potatoes, corn and veggies over the open wood and charcoal fire, cracked open a bottle of Two Buck Chuck, and slept against the hard ground under Big Sky stars.

Breakfast was raspberry pancakes and coffee at the campground caf, and now its time to break camp. With our Element and the Powerbook around, we really perfect this yuppies go camping Honda advert look. While driving up 191 through pine trees yesterday, Jenny observed, This land is too good for us, our people dont belong here. You can feel it. And shes right; this countryside is too purple, too mountainous, too majestic, and absent are the natives and the creatures we took it from. After only 150 years, the Great White footprint already weighs too heavy. Roads, fences, trash.

This morning, after pancakes, Jenny shaved my head. Always leave the campsite cleaner than you found it, my scoutmaster would say. Then Jenny reminded me that I left the shaved hair behind.

There are 4 Comments


5 Aug 05 at 01:22PM Jillybean hurt said:

My whole famiy is from Butte Montana and while I agree that it is something of a humdrum town....for lunch you could have tried "Porkchop Johns" on Harrison. They are EXCELLENT. You drove right by my bros house if you were uptown.....DRIVE SAFELY!!!


8 Aug 05 at 07:56AM Kate said:

The birds will use your hair for their nests.
And even if they don't, I would think it's biodegradeable. A much better thing to leave than a bucket of plastic trash.
Besides, isn't it nice to think that you left a piece of yourself in this place that seems to have touched you so? You took a piece of it with you, and you left a bit of yourself. I'd call that a fair trade. (Or a hair trade.)


8 Aug 05 at 02:29PM alison said:

how come you shaved your head?


8 Aug 05 at 02:56PM Andrew said:

So...I should watch for a very tall bald man at the door now? How will I know it's not Peter Garrett?

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