I thought I’d pretend I am on Facebook and put up a mediocre photo for all my friends and acquaintances so you can see where we are at. This is the view out our front window, looking southwest at the Montana Beartooths. Red Lodge is maybe twenty miles off behind those mountains. We are nearest Fishtail, Montana, a bend in the road and one of my favorite spots growing up. It’s on the road to the West Rosebud drainage.
We are on what was once a working ranch and perhaps will be again. I suspect the owner has read Omnivore’s Dilemma, as he is trying to make the place go using some of the animal husbandry that Michael Pollan espoused in that book.
So leaving Fishtail was a rush of pleasant memories of childhood and days of no responsibility. This place, these Beartooths were right in our backyard. Billings, my home town, has changed so much. It is just like all American towns and cities. Maybe ten percent of its population is doing well. The rest have little wealth and even fewer prospects for a better life. So the town is littered with high-end restaurants next to casinos, luxuriant new homes on its west end and miles of small and older homes in need of some upkeep.
But the Beartooths are the unchanged. They are now as they were when I hiked through them a a ten-year old kid.