Tuesday, March 31, 2009

From Clark Canyon Reservoir to Hamilton The Hard Way

I had accepted Len and Verna's invitation to visit them in Hamilton, on the other side of the Continental Divide in Montana. Len had mentioned a shortcut from the Reservoir and I assumed it was from the camping area. I was to travel northward, then west to get to Hamilton. The map showed a shortcut from Grant to Bannack but just to be sure, I asked a local man if it was safe. He said that only after a rain was it "slick" and likely to be unsafe. He assured me that there had been no rain for a while so it was probably ok. In restrospect, I should have been alerted to the twin hints of likelihood and probability.

On the map, it showed as a significant shortcut in miles. It proved to be only in miles. It took me over two hours to cover the worst 10 to 12 miles of "shortcut" ever. A dirt road of the washboard type, with deep ruts and not a soul, not a house, not even a shack. Once on the narrow road (road a definite misnomer, if you want my opinion) it was impossible to turn around and go back. The only way back was in reverse. So, valiantly onward I drove at a snail's pace. No ranch anywhere, so no cattle, but plenty of wild life. A herd of antelopes swiftly darted up the steep slope at the sight of this unknown creature invading their territory. At one point, I saw a dark form, quite large, by the side of the "road" and wondered if it might be a bear. As I got closer, it unfurled itself and stood up. It was a moose. Rather scrawny but very long-legged. We exchanged a stare, then opted each to go our separate way, away from each other, to my great relief.

Finally I made it to Bannack and a blacktop road. I noticed a few signs posted as I exited the "road", one reading "...road not suitable for trailers, rv’s, or motorhomes". I unwittingly left two hubcaps as a souvenir, which considering how non-existent the traffic is on the "road", are probably still there. In Hamilton, Len told me that to get to HIS shortcut, I should have backtracked northeasternly first. . . Oh, well.

1 comment:

Praplechaos said...

I'll know to ALWAYS be wary of "short cuts" from now on ..... Thanks for sharing your experience!

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