I don’t think we ever really planned on splitting the year living along both Tampa Bay on Florida’s West Coast and Rock Creek, a tributary of the Yellowstone River in Montana. It just happened. Florida had us — Kathy and I – after 8 cold and wet winters in of living and working in Washington DC. That, plus my having been raised on Florida’s east coast. But Montana, well that certainly wasn’t planned in any organized fashion, and maintaining two homes isn’t the type of financial decision that any sane person makes with advance planning.
If you are wondering how a 60′s surfer with roots in the state with no point higher than 400 feet finds his way to the mountain west, I owe it all to a memorable high school teacher : Mr. Graham. I don’t remember much else about him, other than he had a presence. When he was in the room, he called for order without saying a word and you sort wanted to be a better person. He suggested, after returning form Yellowstone, that it might have more fun working a summer with the Yellowstone Park Company then painting air craft hangers in Florida’s hot sun, my other job opportunity. I applied and was hired.
That summer, when I first roamed Yellowstone and Jackson Hole, my feet became firmly cemented in volcanic soil. At that time, I was still an art minor — the CPA focus came later — and when I traveled off road, I took a table and pencil, not a Nikon, imagining myself to be another Thomas Moran.
Kathy and I returned a dozen years later and have been back just about every year since, and then several times a year. Over those years, our exploration of the Yellowstone began focus toward the Northeastern section of the park, and the mountain range just to the east — the Beartooth Mountains. The people who live there call this it their “little secret,” because it is out of the normal traffic patterns of most vacationers. You really have to want to go there to get there.
If you take the drive from Roosevelt Lodge, in the park, to Red Lodge, Montana, you’ll travel a little more than 100 miles but you will see country that is far more striking and unusual than any similar almost-2-mile high drive anywhere in the West. There are no phones, no telephone lines, and many times no one else on the road. Highway 212 takes you into one of the last wilderness areas of the lower 48 states, and it is all easily accessible by foot.
We have met and made friends of many hardy people who live in and travel through Red Lodge, Silver Gate and other Montana towns. We have gathered more than enough memories to last a a couple of lifetimes. Today, photography and our travels have become a big part of our lives, hence this site.
Here I will share my photos and stories on our travel both in Yellowstone and elsewhere. Please, let me know what you think, and order a photo or two!