Here are some pictures of more natural things. Before the summer of 1997, I had not been west of Chicago. I live in Michigan and I had been to Florida and some places out East, but I always felt there was alot more to see "out there". In February of 97 I was asked to go on a trip to Alaska with my uncle. He quit his job and cashed in on his 401K to go and asked me to tag along. I thought Id be nuts to go against Uncle's wishes.
On June 28, we packed up his truck with about everything. I mean we were equipped. Tarps, fishing poles, even our little fishing boat. We filled the truck and the boat with supplies. We left with no intentions of coming home before August at least. Our first stop was in Chicago to borrow another uncle's Canon camera. Thats when I started taking pictures. I blew through about 15 rolls of film on the whole trip. Our route took us through Wisconsin and around Lake Superior in Minnesota. Then from there we travelled West on US 2, which is about the Northernmost highway in the lower 48. This took us through North Dakota and alot of little towns along the way. Then Montana, cheat a little by getting on I-90 and closer to the mountains.
I cant describe the first glimpse of the Rockies, but imagine driving along dirt roads out in "nowhere" (Columbus, MT- south of the Interstate, Yellowstone country), Sparse ranches here and there and the road winding through grassy and abrupt hills. Its late afternoon and I'll admit, we were lost--but in a good way. We had still not seen the mountains and We're looking for a place to camp. It seemed as though we were going in big circles but then again, the hills kept getting larger and more beautiful. There was a chill in the air probably because we were gaining such altitude. The wind was whipping. We'd drive down several feet and up a hundred feet. At the top of each hill we would look around trying to catch the mountains. All we could see were ranches down at the bottom of these hills. We could see just far enough ahead to where the road was going, usually going where we thought it shouldnt, but it has a mind of its own. It always went out of sight at the top of another larger hill! You feel totally alone in those parts but it feels very good. On we drove at our slow pace over the dirt road. We must have spent 2 hrs just climbing. Finding a place to camp wasnt the priority anymore. We knew we were getting closer to the edge of the world, so to speak.
From here on its all fuzzy. It was like the whole sky opened up on us as we crested a final hill. We did a double-take as we knew what we were seeing but we couldnt believe it. There we parked the truck and got out. All you could hear was the wind blowing through the grass from a mile away and all around you at the same time. We stood there looking at the Beartooth mountains with our jaws dropped. The sun lit up the whole sight as a cloud rolled over the summit and snow poured out as it passed. I don't think I could have been more exhilerated if I had just climbed Mt. Everest. I was doing what I had wanted to do almost my whole life, which was see what the west was. See what the Rockies were. And this was just the beginning of our trip.
Please use the menu at the top to navigate the pictures.