All alone on a mountainside, and huddled in the wind.*

by chuckofish

On Tuesday, we drove through the Sawtooth National Forest out of Idaho and into Montana. The scenery was spectacular and the terrain extremely varied.

I am constantly impressed by our planet and the evidence of its history.

Most of all, I love the sky and weather. In the higher elevations of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana it was cool, windy and variable.  One could get used to such sights.

Our goal for the day was to visit Bannach State Park, an old mining town and now a ghost town in the middle of nowhere, Montana. It was a good decision. The town was founded in 1862 when gold was discovered in them there hills (actually in the creek). The boom was short-lived, however, and by 1871 the gold had run out, so the people turned to agriculture and the town became the county seat. From then until its total abandonment in the 1950s, it had a checkered history, including outlaws, vigilantes, and threatened Indian attacks.

Built in 1875 this brick building was originally a courthouse. Then it became a hotel.

It is the largest and only brick building in the town. Here is its grand staircase:

I’ve always wanted to go to a ghost town. From the outside the buildings are very cool looking, but inside there isn’t too much to see other than very uneven, squishy wooden floors and peeling wallpaper, although that has its own appeal. Some of the interiors are so wobbly as to make one feel a little disoriented and seasick walking through them.

There was no running water anywhere, no insulation and no central heating — just stoves. It certainly must have been cold in the winter!

The DH found the old saloon that was supposedly run by the local nasty criminal kingpin, Henry Plummer, who also happened to be the sheriff. A vigilante organization finally caught and hanged him and two of his deputies without trial. He died at the tender age of about 26 and no one is sure whether he was really the bad guy or the vigilantes were. Why hasn’t anyone made a movie of this yet?

We climbed one of the hills behind the town to get a bird’s-eye-view, but as soon as we got to the top we were surprised by thunder and so made a hasty retreat. I have a healthy respect for lightening!

This dual-purpose building housed the school on the bottom floor and the masonic lodge upstairs (interesting combo).

It was one of the better preserved buildings in town.

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Bannach! Stay tuned for close encounters with a buffalo and car trouble that restored our faith in humanity. In the meantime, have a great weekend!

*Lord Huron “Frozen Pines”