Yesterday we pulled out of Helena and made the short drive to Butte. So short it only took a quarter of a tank of gas-and Ceili causes the truck to suck gas through a straw!
It was more smoky in Helena yesterday morning than it had been all week and as we drove south it became even more smoky. At first, it was just wisps along the canyons, then it became like fog or mist or like when we drove in the Colorado Rockies "In the clouds." Then came the sign-Active fire please do not report"- then the next sign "Active fires next 1 mile" (it was further than that!) and the smoke impacted visibility. Never enough that I was worried about my safety but still it was there. I didn't see any actual flames though they likely would have closed the highway for that! I did notice what I thought was kind of unusual activity in the cows though. Normally, cows in a herd would be scattered over the pasture, some loners, some small groups but these were all grouped close together and moving in the same direction. I thought it odd-although someone who raises cattle might not think so. I'd just never seen that before.
When we got to Butte it was so smokey I couldn't tell there were mountains around. It did clear up as the day went by but we could see the smoke plume from the fire north of here. (I tried to post a photo-a bad photo-of the plume but there's some issue in finding it!) This morning most of the smoke was gone and so was the plume. I hope that's good news.
This afternoon saw high winds, high enough that Ceili felt a bit like a cradle rocking back and forth. The weather map said it was raining but it must not have made it to the ground as it didn't rain here. I hope that the wind didn't fan the flames.
My first day in a new town I just try to figure out the lay of the place-where are the main roads, the grocery store, Walmart, etc. Usually, that means I see odd places as I wander about. Today I did some more of that.
I find Butte to be a Sad place. Built on copper mining-still big here-they have amazing old buildings in the historic district (I'll be headed down with my camera before I leave here) but things are run down and I haven't seen any new home construction. Which says they are not doing so well economically. They do have an amazing system of walking/biking trails all through town. It passes right behind out campground so Quinn and I get out and walk on it-a lot. I even got Annie off the bike rack and took a ride. Felt so good, it's been too long. That will, I hope be an everyday affair while I'm here.
There is not much here that I am interested in so tomorrow we'll be taking a trip to Anaconda and Philipsburg. A Scenic route-hope the roads are all paved! I also plan to fix a couple of things and to get out my sewing machine as well as continue the scanning of photographs onto the computer. I'll keep busy while we're here. Hopefully, I have some nice pictures for you tomorrow.