Butte is a mining town that has a rich history. Once over 100,000 in population now it's dropped to under 30,000. The people love the town and, as I was told, never leave. I understand that, as it is surrounded by several mountain ranges and one of the most beautiful areas I have visited.
My time there was split between time with family and painting. I would have loved to paint more but I guess I will have to visit again.
This is looking east from Butte. The clouds were low over the mountains, sometimes covering their tops. Just to the left on the mountain top is the 90 foot Mary statue looking down on Butte.
I headed into the hills and found this spot at the entrance to a closed mountain park. I met a young man walking his dog and asked him if the bear are a problem in that area. I read a lot about the bear in the Montana mountains and the need to be alert. He reassured me that there were not any bear in that area but said he has seen many signs of 'cats'. I think he meant mountain lions. I asked what should I look out for. He said that if there was a territorial male in the area it he would get me before I realized he was there. Not too reassuring especially after I noticed the stripped clean bones of some large animal in the stream near where I was standing. Needless to say I kept looking over my shoulder painting this one.
The next morning before breakfast I walked a block from where we were staying to find this view. These are the Highland Mountains where my father in-laws's sister and her husband mined for gold. They were pretty successful I'm told. The mine is all closed up now.
This is the pass going to Philipsburg. I was on the edge of a 600 ft cliff at a scenic pullout. All while I was painting rocks were letting lose from the cliffs above and rolling down on the other side of the road.
This lake was still frozen in the mountains near Anaconda. Many of the roads and parks are not yet open for the season. I had to go over a little snow to get to this spot.
This is the county seat in Anaconda. I had to drive up the hill to the cemetery to get this view. While standing under a tree to shade my easel a bird landed on my head. Kind of freaked me out a bit.