So eventually we reached our destination in St. Regis and stayed there a couple of nights, catching up on laundry, rest, reading and writing. We then made our way to Deer Lodge, again staying two nights. Finally we drove south to West Yellowstone which we intended to use as a base for our Yellowstone explorations.
I wondered where the motto “Big Sky” came from. Obviously there are wide-open vistas here, but the same could be said for many places west of the Mississippi River. As it turns out, it started with a novel. A.B. Guthrie wrote a six-novel series of historical fiction on the settling of Montana, from 1830 to the beginning of World War I. The first novel of the series was sent to the publisher untitled. The editor read through it and the accompanying biographical notes and came across an exclamation from Guthrie’s father when he first arrived at Choteau, Montana: “standing under the big sky I feel free.” The editor chose “Big Sky” as the title. And in 1961 Guthrie gave the state permission to use it for tourism, and the phrase has stuck ever since!
The western half of Montana has a lot of mountains and passes. Once we cleared most of those we headed south for West Yellowstone. The drive was very scenic. Mountains with snow, valleys, plains, meadows. Not very many people.
Click the picture below to see the slide show!