Sept 20, 2021

It was cold and wet last night, but with our electric blanket we stayed warm in bed. We drove down the mountain and continued west to Deer Lodge. We spent about 2-3 hours at the Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site. This is a small working cattle ranch operated by the National Park Service.

This is the site of a cattle ranch started in the 1870s. At one time the ranch was over 1 million acres, but is now just 1600 acres. The visitor’s center is at the original ranch homestead with the main ranch house and many buildings filled with equipment and displays of ranch life in the late 1800s. There were several rangers presenting information about ranch life for the cowboys. It was very interesting and worth the stop.

From Deer Lodge we re-connected with I-90 and drove south through Butte. We had planned to camp close to Virginia City, but changed our plans and decided to camp on the Jefferson River south of Whitehall. We camped close to Renova Hot Springs. The past 2 days had been windy, rainy and overcast, so we decide to visit the hot springs in the morning.

Sept 21, 2021

The morning was cold and windy so we skipped the hot springs and drove south through the valley. We stopped at the grocery store in Sheridan for a few things. From Sheridan we continue up into the mountains to visit the old mining town of Virginia City.

Unfortunately since it was late in the year, most places were closed, but we were able to walk up and down Main Street and some of the historic buildings were open to look into. The main street had many historic buildings from the late 1800s, but some of them were reproductions.

One very interesting building was a dry goods store. It closed for business in the 1945, and the interior was still as it was in 1945 with all the products still on the shelves.

We continued over the mountains into the Madison River valley and continued south.

A few miles south of Ennis we camped in the mountains at a Forest Service campsite. We were the only ones in the campground when we arrived, but later in the evening another guy arrived and set up camp. He was a former backcountry Forest Ranger and worked in this area. He is retired now, but came up to camp and hike in the mountains.

Later in the evening, Eva and I went for a walk in the campground area. We saw this sign near the entrance of the campground.

And then saw this on the entry road into the campground. 

It wasn’t there when we arrived, so the grizzly had visited the campground since we had set up camp. It was only 25-30 yards from our van.

After we saw the bear scat, Eva didn’t feel like walking, so we went back to the van for the evening.

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