Hwy 191 south out of Bozeman, MT, to Hwy is such a magnificent drive, I have an entire photo album balled as such. Every few hundred feet, you are staring with your mouth open, whispering, “OMG”. It was very difficult to not stop every 5 minutes to take a picture of the wonderful vista.
I will admit to taking lots more than are in the album. A whole lot more.
I envy the people who get to wake up to this view every day. I could live here. It is almost spiritual in it's beauty.
The line in the song, “from purple mountains, majesty”, well I know where that was written about. You can feel it in your bones as you drive through what has to be some of the most lovely drives in the country.
Before now, my favorite drive has been from Carlsbad, NM southwest on Hwy 62, through the Guadalupe Mountains. That had been the most lovely drive I had ever taken. Now, that drive has a rival.
It is hard to say which one is the most lovely. They are so very different, one calm, almost surreal, even spiritual, the other “in your face magnificent, bold, and towering. It is like two different parts of this Mother Earth. Gaia in all her glory is how I see the drive I was fortunate enough to take yesterday.
It is a 2 lane road, with few slow lanes up the hills, but there are what the signs call “turnouts” every ¼ mile or so. These are wide spaces on the side of the road, about the size of a semi. I pulled over quite often, as I was barely doing 55 to 60 in most places. The rises are, for the most part, barely noticeable, as they are gentle grades, following the Gallatin River as it rushed down stream. And, cross more creeks than I can count.
I stopped in Big Sky, which is a lovely resort town in the Gallatin National Forest. Although it is a resort town, it has an old fashioned charm about it. Very nice people too. A bit later, I came upon Cinnamon Mountain. It took my breath away.
This entire drive was one big struggle to keep my eyes on the road. Trying to prevent becoming a statistic was very difficult. Especially when I rounded one of many curves, and in the middle of the road stood a mama Bighorn Sheep, and her lamb. I did get stopped about 15 feet from her, and they just stood there looking at me, as if to ask what I was doing in their mountains. They eventually ambled off to the side of the road, so I went on my way.
I finally saw buffalo too. A cow and what looked like a yearling calf, were laying along side of the road as if they were in a meadow somewhere. Paying no attention what-so-ever to the vehicles stopped so pictures could be taken. I didn't stop, but I surely slowed down.
At one point, while approaching another bridge over a rushing creek, there were several sheep, with their curling horns, walking along side the road. Again, many stopped and took pictures. I didn't get pictures of any of these sightings, as I was concentrating on the road. Sigh.......
After turning onto Hwy 287, you will pass Hebgen Lake, on the Madison River. A lovely lake, with the mountains in the background. I traveled along side of it for a while.
Here is where the pictures billed “avalanche” are taken. There is a long narrow lake, just past Hebgen Lake, called earthquake lake. It amazes me how something so terrible can create something so lovely. But, look at Realfoot Lake in TN. Amazing.
There were, surprisingly, more than a few big trucks on these roads. The roads are not that bad, with so many places to pull over and let the traffic pass. It is certainly a much more interesting drive than any of the nations interstates, where you see nothing but trees, fences, and little else.
On the smaller roads, you go through interesting small towns, with the charm of the old days. Slow down, and take the smaller roads. You'll be glad you did. I promise.
Love and Light