Day 6 & 7 – Butte, Montana
So, this little slice of heaven nicknamed Butte America was our next adventure.
I fell in love with Butte, Montana, I felt somewhat connected to this cool little town. It was a peaceful place but at the same time, you could see the city lights shimmering at night from atop the mountain we stayed. It gave a sense of just how full of life this place really is!
The town itself has a great history starting life as a mining camp in the 1860’s. Butte Montana is also known as the richest hill on earth! The copper that was mined from these hills went on to be used to energize America in the early 1900’s and on, while also fueling The Industrial Revolution, making Butte MT a true BOOM town!
Orphan Girl Mine – Butte, MT
My husband and I decided to do a mine tour and opted for the 100ft tour. This was a great guided tour where we descended 100 feet deep into the Orphan Girl Copper Mine. Our guide was hands down the best. He had been an electrician in the mines and was full of great detail while telling many stories of what it was like to have been a miner.
This mine tour took us 100 feet down. The mine in its prime was about a mile down. It was actually dug down to sea level. So the guide informed us that Butte is a mile high and a mile low.
Following our tour of the copper mine, we visited the famous Berkeley Pit.
The Pit began back in 1955 as a large open-pit copper mine until the mining in Butte came to a halt in ’82. Nowadays it’s literally just that a big PIT in the ground that continues to fill up with toxic water. It’s laden with heavy metals from the mines and arsenic making it TOXIC but while standing out on the viewing platform you see something that is actually kind of beautiful.
It appears to be this magnificent, turquoise, pristine, and very still sheet of glass. Although I will add, there is an eeriness to seeing it up close and in person, just knowing how toxic and contaminated it really is with the harm it could cause. It is worth a close-up look, but no fishing or swimming or you may come out with an extra eyeball or arm growing out of your forehead!
You are able to view the pit from the platform located right above the Pit itself. The Pit is open for viewing for just two bucks a person, definitely worth a stop and see.
in 2016 there were about 9000 geese that landed in the pit. About a third of them died after drinking the water. Today, they play loud random noises to keep any birds from landing in the pit. A simple, but so far very effective solution.
Our Lady of the Rockies
If your ambitious and organized, you can see a lot in and around Butte in one day. Our next stop was a journey up to The continental Divide to see where Our Lady of The Rockies towers high. An amazing monument that once began as a promise from a husband to his wife. The 90-foot monument dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, sits atop the continental divide at 8500 feet above sea level, overlooking all of Butte.
The story of how the monument became is just an amazing story in itself. Even more so how this story continues to live on through the people of the town! Hearing about the community and how they all pulled together to make it all a happen leaves you with a sense of “Anything is possible in this life” feeling!
We had an amazing stay and experience at our Airbnb.
This was another Ranch stay for us. I think secretly my husband and I both had thoughts of becoming some sort of ranchers by the end of our trip.
The only problem with that would be our skill set consist only of caring for chickens, dogs and, oh yes, one carnival pig won back in the day by our son Harrington!
Our skills are still lacking in the ranching department but hey, you never know, it could happen. Remember that show, Green Acres? Not sure even how that show ended. Did they stay or go back to the city?
Let me just begin with our amazing camp/glamp for what would be the next two days.
Our host Wendy and her husband were AMAZING. We stayed in a wood platform canvas tent with a solar heated outdoor shower under the Montana stars. Yep, that’s right, we took our showers outside right under the stars. This was a definite bonus- more cathartic than we knew.
I will add that it’s not quite the camping we experienced in scouts as children. I mean we were out in the middle of the mountains and we could hear all the night sounds of elk whistling, coyotes howling and crickets chirping all while we laid snuggled down in our comfy queen size pillow top bed.
So, now the question everyone might have in the back of their minds, “Wonder where they went to the bathroom?” This was still a zero challenge. The tent came equipped with a Dry Flush Toilet and a semi-private wall separating it from our sleeping quarters.
A dry flush toilet is not the same as one of the composting toilets you may have heard about with all the Tiny House chatter. The dry flush is super easy to use, not quite as eco-friendly as the composting toilet but still, there is no turning and churning of human excrement to be had. BONUS!!!
Now for those who don’t know Robb and me personally, we have been together for 2 decades and married for 17 years now so the privacy factor was no big deal for us. I would however not suggest this venue for “New Couples” that still have bladder shyness!
The first morning waking up was just amazing, my words really can’t describe it any better than the pictures.
The evenings were warm with blue skies as far as the eye could see with beautiful sunsets. The mornings were crispy new, sunny and brisk! We were able to build and stoke a fire each morning in our tent with the little pot belly wood stove. The warmth from our morning fires would lull you back to sleep for the little nap we all tend to crave every Monday morning at work after our 1st and 2nd jugs of coffee.
This was literally the most amazing and perfect place, although the addition of my wonderful husband, minus the dogs and kids, also helped achieve the perfection in our little tent on the mountain. I could not get enough of this place. From getting to sit out on the deck each night looking at the beautiful Virgin Mary glowing at the top of the mountains, to waking up with the beautiful sunshine peeking in our tent window with each sunrise.
I could almost hear a faint whisper in my ear saying “Go ahead, close your eyes for a little longer, its ok”. This was my favorite place, it brought me the peace and solitude I had been in search of.