Saturday, June 13, 2015

Resting and Planning in White Sulphur Springs, Montana

Location: Conestoga Campground (el 5,050 ft); White Sulphur Springs, Montana

(click pictures to enlarge)
(all pictures taken with Nokia Lumia 929 cell phone)

I'm still waiting for the Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park to open. The latest information is that it is open for 32 miles from the western end but the remaining 20 miles or so is closed due to road construction. Apparently they finished plowing the snow, which usually takes until about the first of July, but now they are needing to finish some road work. I've thought about going around to the west entrance but that seems to be the more busy entrance so I'll stay with the east side. Their web site says it may open June 19th (fingers crossed). 

So, since I have to wait, I found a nice campground in White Sulphur Springs, Montana with full hook-ups at a very reasonable rate since they are members of Passport America. The trip here was a nice drive of a little bit more than 200 miles.

I stopped at a Walmart on the way since I knew there wasn't a large grocery store around here. 

I saw this guy on the side of the road
alongside a pull-out. It was a pretty
good statue to be out in the middle
of nowhere.

Speaking about being in the middle of nowhere, I saw this house for several miles before reaching it. It is a large two story house just sitting alone except for one out-building. 

A guess would put the date of its construction about 40 to 50 years ago. It must have been a good sized family to need a house that size but now it sits empty and for sale. It made me wonder about its past. Had there be a dozen kids of stair-stepped ages playing around it at one time. And if so, I guess they all moved off. How long had the mother and father been left alone after the last child flew the coop? I wondered if it was part of an old homestead from a hundred years ago and this house was just the latest in a chain of smaller to larger houses. 
Why was this place chosen to build a house since there was nothing around for miles. All of those thoughts and many more in just the minute or so it took to drive by. 

A storm was coming across the mountains. I was lucky and stayed in front of it all the way to the campground.

 The road was long and lonely with on an occasional vehicle seen along the way. Except for the rain coming up behind me, the weather ahead looked nice and the sky bright blue. 

About 5 miles of so before reaching White Sulphur Springs, a bright yellow field of what looked like dandelions showed up on the right.

Conestoga Campground

Not a great sunset, but peaceful.

There isn't a lot of stuff to do around here, but I was able to play a round of golf on a nice little 9-hole course just across from the campground.
It was the first time I've played in over 6 months and it was fun except for the mosquitoes. After the 3rd hole, I bought some "Off" from the club house. They had it in a wipe which worked better than a spray. After that, those "skeeters" quit messing with this southern blood. 

I also drove into the Lewis and Clark National Forest area to find Memorial Falls. 
I was told about the falls when I checked into the campground. It was worth the trip. The lower falls are a little less than 1/2 mile from the parking area. I got there about 1 o'clock in the afternoon and there were 3 other vehicles in the parking lot. I have learned not to head off on the mountain trails if the parking area is empty. 
That is the path to the right, through the rocks
Since I'm walking alone, if I fall and break something, I'm gonna be there until someone comes along. If there are vehicles in the parking lot, that means people are ahead of me on the trail and if it is a single trail, then they have to come by me on their way out. In this instance, the 3 vehicles meant at least 3 groups ahead of me. Once the 3rd group passed me going down, then I knew I would be alone on the trail and this late in the afternoon, no one possible coming up. This trail was full of large rocks, some loose while others were used as stair steps. It would be very easy to trip and fall if I wasn't paying attention and the fall would be on some pretty nasty looking rocks. The 3rd group passed me going down just as I was about to reach the lower falls. The upper falls were another 1/4 mile or so farther but on a much steeper trail. What to do, what to do? Should I act stupid or smart? 
That's when I saw the bench. Nothing like a good "thinking bench" to sit and contemplate on the situation. So, I had a seat with a nice view of the falls and thought it over. I thought about how
View from the bench
nice the upper falls "may" look and balanced that with the thought of having to spend the night along the trail with a broken leg or ankle. Hmmmm,,,,,. I headed back down the trail. Ain't I the smart one? At least today. :)
A look back at the falls on my way down. 

I'll be moving on tomorrow. My plan right now is to maybe head to Great Falls and stay there for a few days. I will be close enough to Bear's Paw to take a day trip there and will only be 1 day's trip from the east entrance to Glacier. Or I may extend my stay here a day or two before moving on since it is pretty restful here. I'll make my final decision later this afternoon. 

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.    


  1. If you go back to Glacier's Going to the Sun Road, also check out Waterton and see the town. It is a short drive after crossing the Canadian border. Also a very nice hotel on the hill over looking Waterton. Check out the lobby.

    1. No Canada for me Gene. No passport. I wad lazy and didn't get one. Plus I guess I would have to store my guns before crossing

    2. Bummer. You would really like The Icefields Parkway between Lake Louise and Jasper, Alberta, Canada. I continue to enjoy your postings.

  2. Ran on to your blog a few weeks back and really enjoy your pictures and writing. Your campground host write as well "Owens on the Road". Keep them coming as I hope to be in your shoes in a few years.

    1. Thanks for the comment. Those few years will go by very quick and the planning and preparing is a fun part too. Cya

  3. I gotta agree with Gene S on the Icefields Parkway. It is one of the most scenic in the world as far as I have seen. It is worth getting a passport to see and storing your guns for a few days. Got to be a gun store up there that would keep them for you for a few days. The hotel at Waterton is worth the sidetdrip, too.

    So, you discovered there is not much to do in WSS, unless you like to fish. That was where I learned to fish as a kid, and it spoiled me for the rest of my life. Nothing else ever came close to those early days. Almost forgot, did you get to eat at the Stockmens Bar?

    1. Nope, no passport this year, but I will be going into Canada next year so will get a passport this fall while back in Louisiana. I did a little fishing as a teenager and liked it. Haven't fished in decades but the streams and rivers up here sure look tempting. I didn't get a chance to eat at the Stockmens. Surprisingly the only eating out I did was at the gas station when fueling up. They just brought some freshly cooked hamburgers in and I was hungry, couldn't resist. It was good. But I have called ahead to make reservations at the Taco Bell in Great Falls. I hope I can get in because they wouldn't take my reservation. :)

  4. Darrell, I would suggest that you drive down to Two Medicine when you are at Glacier. It is one of the roughest paved roads I have ever driven, but worth it. Very few people and stunning scenery. I look forward to the pictures of the East side of the Sun road. It was not open while we were there.