Eureka Reservoir

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I didn’t explore as much as I’d have liked when I was a kid living in Central Montana. Now that I’m back, I’m having a blast exploring all the little reservoirs along the Rocky Mountain Front. Dad and I fished Holter Lake for the most part, but never headed up north. I have a long list of lakes and reservoirs I need to photograph (and fish.)

One of my favorites is Eureka. The Front makes a great backdrop, and it’s close to Choteau, so it’s easy to grab lunch on the way up. I was there last summer, and went again a week ago to check out the ice. It was 50ยบ and sunny, but the ice along the edge of the reservoir was still think enough to walk on. The Front didn’t have a lot of snow–hopefully that doesn’t lead to another major fire season–but it still made an amazing backdrop for the reservoir.

The most recent trip involved putting the drone up over the lake. The ice makes incredible patterns against the dark water beneath it.

As with other places I plan to get back to at some point, Eureka Reservoir has its own project page. All future photos will go there.

Choteau, Bynum, and Pendroy

The contractor had just finished building Dad’s new house (for the most part–that story should be part of a different post.) What’s the first thing you do when you finish a new house? Fill it up with rocks!

Wait, what? That’s not the first thing everyone does? Weird.

At any rate, that’s the first thing my dad does. So he wanted to run up to Bynum to check out the rock shop.

When I was growing up, I never really explored north of Great Falls. I stuck to the areas between Great Falls and Missoula. Google Maps wasn’t a thing back then, so I really didn’t know what I was missing. For example: I didn’t know Lost Lake existed. And I lived 20 minutes from it at one point.

There’s a little tiny town just north of Choteau called Bynum, and Bynum has a rock shop. The Trex Agate Shop is not just any rock shop, it a seriously cool rock shop. The building itself is… Rustic. The people are awesomely friendly. And the prices are fair. If you’re good, you might even be able to haggle a bit.

I’m getting ahead of myself, though. On the way up to Bynum, we stopped for lunch in Choteau. We were craving burgers, so we swung into John Henry’s. For those of you who haven’t lived in Montana, there’s this spice called Alpine Touch.

It’s made in Choteau, and John Henry’s is proud of it. Almost everything on the menu includes the seasoning. This is a good thing. Alpine Touch is like crack. Growing up, I put it on everything from popcorn to trout. If Alpine Touch made a perfume, I’d have dated any woman wearing it. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed lunch.

Fat and happy, we left Choteau and headed north to the rock shop.

Dad and I spent at least an hour looking at rocks, and chatting with the owner. He bought some thunder eggs for his bookshelves, and I picked up a cool sandstone thing.

Across from Trex Agate Shop is the Two Medicine Dinosaur Center museum gallery. We didn’t have a chance to go in, but it looks pretty cool.

The whole town has an old Montana feel to it.

We decided not to take the same route back, so we ended up driving through Pendroy. There’s an awesome old school there.

Eventually, we cruised through Conrad to see if the hospital had a sign with the logo I designed, but they didn’t appear to. Guess that just gives me another reason to head back up that way.

Everybody seems to love the western part of Montana, but I’ll take plains, farmland, and high desert over mountains any day. My uncle said the same thing to me once–he liked being able to see for miles, and being stuck in the mountains made him feel trapped.