Three Weeks To Montana

I took a trip 20 years ago to Montana when I was 26, the first time ever camping and traveling alone, for a month. I documented that trip with photographs and writings and drawings about a world that was very new to me. This spring I repeated the same trip with a very different vantage point. One about 3 feet high, and 3 1/2 years old. My son Oliver came with me as we traveled at times alone in control of our own destiny, at times we were along for the ride. It was amazing, seeing everything new again. I was in awe of Oliver looking at moose and bison and grizzly bears, water falls and burnt forests and deep canyons, not in books with pictures but right in front of him. We were so lucky, part traveling and staying with family and friends, part heading out on our own, altogether the best of both worlds.

I did not bring my good camera, which was a hard decision, but I knew it would not be that kind of trip, where I could spend an entire afternoon hanging out and waiting the for shadows to get just right. I resorted to selfies and simpler, smaller ways to capture the adventure. I was prepared for a different kind of success here, and a success it was.

Here is a condensed version of the trip - Enjoy!


The trip begins just outside of Chicago in Algonquin Illinois, which was home base for a week where we visited with family and friends, which are abundant in that area. Here Ollie was helping feed the Koi fish in our friends pond.


The real adventure begins as we were picked up by my sister-in-law's family of 5 where we shared a van ride for the next week. Hitting all sorts of exciting places on the way to Montana.

Here are our van-companions hanging at Mt Rushmore: Kevin, Tyler, Anna, Owen and Karen

First stop of the camping part of the adventure was along the mighty Mississippi river. Here is Ollie's cousin Tyler with the binoculars. I took a page out of my "the way we used to do it" book with this pieced together image.

Ollie and the Mississippi

Next stop as we head west, Mt. Rushmore. They keep the place open until 11:00 pm to see the lights. Really the best way to see it.


While driving through a very rainy Bighorn National Forest in Wyoming we saw several moose. I was hoping to get a better shot of the first one with the flowers, but my brother in law scared him away. We ended up seeing plenty more.

This one of my favorite images from the whole trip, an amazing hike in Yellowstone National Park. Rainbow and all, such a view it almost doesn't look real.

Sunset in Yellowstone

The late day shadows raking across a hike at one of the many hot sulphur springs in Yellowstone.

Then off to Glacier National Park, one of my favorite places. A few things working against me here trying to get to some of the places I was 20 years ago. One was the Going To The Sun Road, the main road going across the whole park, was still close DUE TO PLOWING!  Can you believe it. Also, the hike I wanted to do to Avalanche Lake, also closed - DUE TO BEAR. Ah well.

So Ollie and I tried a little hike to a glacier, we got agood ways, but the 3000 foot vertical change (oof) eventually got the better of us. . .

 . . . so my Pices and I settled on throwing rocks and picniccing at Lake McDonald instead. Look at that form : )


The one shot I absolutely wanted to get again, I did get. The little island in the middle of St. Mary Lake. The left was 1997, the right 2017

Aug 1997

Aug 1997

June 2017

June 2017


Some photos of me and Ollie. At a snack bar where he ate alligator for the first time and loved it!, at St. Marys Lake, and a well deserved snooze.

Virginia Falls on the east side of Glacier National Park

Virginia Falls were beautiful and the flowers along the hike were abundant, but all the trees were burnt and black.




One last stop on the way home - Niagara Falls!

Then as we head home we stopped to camp on Lake Erie, which was rough and windy, but no matter, we had a good time!

In closing, I could not have asked for a better traveling partner. He was patient and mellow and always willing to go with the flow no matter where it lead us. I would do it again in a heart beat and wonder. . . where will the car will take us next year.