Exploring the Frontier–Havre MT to Miles City Montana


A beautiful sunrise in Chinook Montana to start my exploration. Everyday of the journey was amazing and everyday started with something special. This beautiful sunrise the 1st day, the bald eagle flying up from the roadside on the second day, and something awesome each day. The journey covered 3,275 miles and 12 states. It was a journey to find myself, my faith, and my country and share the spectacular beauty and people of America with my followers in the USA and around the world. Also I hope to inspire people to overcome fear and misconceptions and follow their dreams where ever they lead you. To many of us avoid doing what we want or need because of anxiety and fear. Fear of the unknown is one of the greatest most challenging fears we must overcome in life. Follow my story and may it inspire you to follow your own path no matter what the challenges. Open your hearts and minds for new adventures and experiences and follow along and be inspired to create your own adventures.


The above scenes are from the James Kipp recreation area where the mighty Missouri River flows through the Charles M Russell Wildlife Refuge in the Missouri Breaks area of Montana. Before the bridge over the Missouri was constructed in the middle of the last century ferries where the only way to cross the Missouri. They were dependable providing the water wasn’t to low, to high, or frozen over lol. James Kipp was a fur trader and steam boat captain born in 1788 in Montreal. He explored this area of Montana in the 1820’s and established in 1831 FT Piegan on the Marias River to trade with the Piegan or Blackfeet Indians in the region. I thought it was awesome for this modern day explorer to stop and have breakfast at the site where a pioneering explorer camped.  Just south of this area along the Musselshell River was also Ft Musselshell. A short lived fur trading fort where Sioux and Assiboine Warriors would often take shots at unwary whites. SONY DSC SONY DSC  One of the many old pioneer homes one can discover throughout the west. A symbol both of the harsh conditions facing the early pioneers and of the struggle of many frontier areas to maintain their populations in modern times. SONY DSC The historic Garfield Motel in Jordan Montana. Jordan is the most isolated county seat in America. The county has a population of around 1,200 which is nearly 3 times the size of neighboring Petroleum County MT with a population of 412. If you find yourself in Jordan stop at the Jordan Coffee and Gift shop. Friendly people good coffee in all varieties. Its one of the reasons I love Montana. Where else can a sophisticated lady by herself a chai tea while browsing the latest styles of concealed carry hand bags, in newest Aztec motif 🙂  Good advice for life at a sign on this store. Picture of a handgun with the words “Stay calm and carry” below it. Reminds me of the old pioneer saying: “Trust God but keep your powder dry” SONY DSC SONY DSC These two pics are the Angela Post office still in business and an abandoned early 1900s church at Angela Montana. When its 100s of miles to the next community of any size the post offices, churches, country stores, and bars become the center of many of these small frontier communities their life lines to connect to each other and the world.SONY DSC I love that the Cohagen Montana Bar, only one of two buildings in Cohagen has a squirt soda sign as its marquee. It also has a payphone across the street. It is many long miles to any where and any one else I wonder if you are stuck out their and need to use the payphone who do you call?SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC The first photo in this series is the Yellowstone River as it flows through Miles City Montana. The Yellowstone is the longest free flowing river (undammed) in America. The horses are grazing behind the Range Riders Museum in Miles City. Well worth the stop the museum has an amazing collection of frontier buildings, pioneer objects, Native American Artifacts, and a stunning collection of 400 historic firearms. The last 2 photos are from my campsite along the banks of the Tonque River which flows into the Yellowstone River at Miles City.

Its been said that generally at the end of your life you will regret far more the things you didn’t do in life then the things you did. This has been the case in my life, but I decided that before I got to old to have adventures I was going to seize the days and have adventures and go exploring and overcome my fears and find my faith and when I am old at the end of my days I will have at least great stories to tell. Hope everyone enjoys this and has fun following my adventures.

Favorite Drive though Hungry Horse Hollow

I love taking the 30 miles of dirt roads that run though the mountains between Havre and Chinook Montana. They have great names for one thing: Sucker Creek Rd. Clear Creek Rd. Hungry Horse Hollow. Crown Butte Rd. It has beautiful scenery as you run through the pine forests following the ridge line looking down at the ranches that dot the narrow valleys or dive down into the valleys following the creeks that run along the aspen groves. This is a winding sometimes narrow dirt/gravel road that runs through the mountains use some caution and common sense when driving it. Heavy rains can send those creeks over the roads, cause rock slides, and it is an open range area which means there may be cows or sheep on the road. Blaine County did a great job of clearing the wash outs and the rock slides from the flooding a few weeks ago. I do wish though they had put the following signs up so travelers could see them from both directions specifically the direction I was driving lol.


Personally I think this is generally bad advice. Yes if there was a rock slide already in the road driving slow would let you stop better but in most other situations driving fast is better for example:

rock slide starting to happen:  faster is better to get out of the way 😉

muddy area: slow + mud = stuck trust me just gun it and go

water over road: don’t go fast or slow turn around its just not safe

deranged animals or people: faster is better!!

zombies:  faster

I mean really if you are in a danger zone why would you want to go slow and stay in the zone longer. Silliness I say!!

It is a beautiful series of valleys and mountians

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A great area for wildlife watching..I wish I could have gotten the pic of the largest golden eagle I have ever seen but he was over the ridge and gone before I could.

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Here are some of the sheep to which I had to yield the right of way too.

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If you love history there is a lot of pioneering history hear and several old barns and homesteads and other items.

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I love this shot of the windmill on the range. There is an interesting story to the aeromotor windmills. The company was founded in 1888 in Chicago. It is still in business today located in Texas and 80% of the windmills in the USA are aeromotor designs. They continue today with philanthropic works the founder of the company started with a trust that provides funds, scholarships, or grants to over 40 colleges and universities.

Following are some old barns and homesteads:

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I am sure before automobiles and roads there were some hungry days for horses and men back in hungry horse hollow 30 miles from town.

The last pictures are from the town of Lloyd Montana where the general store and post office were founded in 1890 and named for “old man Lloyd” a prospector and one of the first explorers of the area.

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To view my photo art that is for sale please visit:  http//:www.zazzle.com/shadowriverphoto

Pioneer Story

I have a pioneer story in which 2 of the photographs I posted figure prominently. I met an elderly couple in my office who saw some of my framed pictures. The gentleman told me a great story involving his parents from the early days last century. The first picture is the Galata Motel in Galata Montana.


The 8 room hotel was built to serve cowboys who drove their cattle to the railroad and ranchers who would stay the night after purchasing supplies at the mercantile. The town only boomed for a few years and then in the 1910’s the hotel and the town began to die off. The Campbell family left to make a new life in the big city of Montana. They travelled as many miles as they could each day with the family and livestock and would sleep in hay stacks at night. Except for the one night when they reached Loma Montana and got to stay in “luxury” at the one room schoolhouse there.

Early 1900s 1 room schoolhouse at Loma, Montana

Early 1900s 1 room schoolhouse at Loma, Montana

That’s the thing I love about getting out and taking these historic photos so many of which are close to my home in Havre Montana. I get to meet the people who lived that history and it brings these old places to life for a little. Its also a driving force behind why I take so many of these historic style photos. To help preserve and protect these places for once the people are gone if those structures are gone as well then those memories and our shared history are lost forever. I am getting very serious about bringing attention to these structures to find agencies or private individuals (since many of them are on private land) to preserve these beautifully haunting structures that represent a time when this nation was being built. I hope through sales of my pictures, this blog, and shows that I do to raise awareness and funds to keep the pioneering spirit and relics of the past was fading away and being lost in time.