Rural Cascade County

Could’ve sworn I’d posted this already, but apparently not.

When I was a kid, I rarely explored west of Great Falls. I stayed mostly to the east–from the Highwoods to the Monarch area. We’d camp at Holter, but never explored much between Great Falls and Holter.

After a little bout with Covid last December, I needed to get out of the house. So on the morning of January 1st, I loaded up the dog and we took a drive. Mornings are always best for random rural road trips, in my opinion, and this one didnt’ disappoint.

We wandered past the buffalo jump to Square Butte, then over to Cascade, and wound our way back home. The full moon was still visible when I drove through Cascade, but I couldn’t quite get the vantage point I wanted without going on private property.

It ended up being a great way to start the year.


One thing I love about summer is the early sunrises. I tend to wake up whenever sunlight starts streaming through my window, so in the summer I tend to wake up early. The older I get, the more I enjoy waking up early.

The other day, I woke up at 5:45 am. Wide awake. No point in even trying to go back to bed, so I grabbed my camera and hopped in the truck. The plan was to just grab a few shots on the way to my friend’s awesome new coffee shop in Great Falls, but I got sidetracked on the way there.

There’s a road that heads west out of Ulm. It’s marked with a dead end sign, so I’ve never driven it. Square Butte happened to catch my eye, and that dead-end road was headed in the right direction, so I decided to check it out. It didn’t quite do what I’d hoped it would do for the Square Butte photo (never rose up high enough to see the full butte,) but it was good enough.

Square Butte in the morning light.

The sky was just cloudy enough to keep the light interesting, and I found some areas I need to explore further later this summer. Definitely worth the drive.

I was on my way to the coffee shop by 7 am with a camera full of photos. I can’t think of a better way to start a day.

Delicious coffee at Broadwater Coffee Brewing