Our Lady of the Blue Highways

Our Lady of the Blue Highways
Portrait in oils by Jackie Poutasse

Friday, September 3, 2010

Chouteau, Montana

I’m doing a short post today just to get something new on the site. I have several posts to do and lots of photos – my next few posts will not be in order.

Yesterday, Diane and I drove to Choteau to scatter Mom’s ashes.

We stopped at the courthouse with a copy of the land patent for the homestead that I found on the internet (with Cousin Terry’s help) The homestead consisted of 160 or so acres. It was a hard scrabble existence – the land is not suitable for farming – but for grazing.

We learned that the actual site of the homestead is now a part of a large ranch – owned by, drum roll, please – David Letterman. Knowing how security conscious he is, we knew we’d never be able to get close to the actual homestead site.

There are no roads that go near it now, , but we drove out Belleview road – unpaved –about 20 miles, then turned south and drove along the Rockie Mountain Front. Diane remembered her mother talking about waking up each morning to the sight of “hay stack mountain” which – we figured was actually “Ear” mountain – Over 8000 foot of free standing mountain – like a sentinel protecting the Rockies.

Ear Mountain

We drove to the end of the road, turned around and stopped in an open range area to send Mom home. Left a flag to mark the spot, and scattered rose petals with her.

There is an old schoolhouse built in 1906 along the road - I believe this is the school Mom always talked about – they walked or rode double or triple on a horse to get there.

School House

She told me about the big snowstorm that came up while they were at school My grandfather walked to the school to escort them home. To get back home, they walked, holding onto each other’s coat tails so they wouldn’t get separated. We’ve tried to figure out how far from the school was from home – figure somewhere between 3 and 5 miles.

She also told about a big snowstorm that piled snow above the door in the cabin – My grandfather dug a tunnel through the snow to get to the barn to care for the animals.

The drive was so beautiful. Sweeping prairies in one direction, towering mountains in the other. I just can’t get enough of the beauty of Montana.

Nature’s Sculpture Garden

We returned to Choteau to pick up some information about the possibility of having our next reunion there. They have a lovely city park with camping and a large community center which can be rented.

Montana Strip Mall

On the way home, we stopped in Fairfield so I could take a photo of the granaries.


There were also two side by side pastures – Camels in one, Elk in the other – The elk moved to the back of the pasture as I approached - led by an awesome Royal Bull with huge antlers.


Camels? In

Further along the way home, we passed a pasture with bison in it – but didn’t have a chance to stop for a photo.

Once home, I worked on my Helena blog. I had the thought that I was getting too wordy, and putting in way too many photos - but, then I remembered, while there are a lot of people following this blog, it’s really for me and I can be as “windy” as I want to be.

This is labor day weekend – we’ll be spending it at my cousin’s cabin in the mountains.

Until next time,
Bear Hugs
Love, Boots

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