Sunday, June 24, 2018

The Great Escape - Day 5: Helena, Montana

We left shortly after 6AM from our campsite at the Colter Bay Village RV campground; a day early as we'd had enough of the crowds.

A bit over 90 minutes later we'd driven through Yellowstone NP and avoided not only the expected crowds but didn't have to pay to go through the park.

Breakfast was soon after that, while parked at the parking lot of the visitor center for Earthquake Lake in Montana.

Earthquake Lake

By around 1:30 PM we'd arrived at the home of friends of ours who used to live in the Metro Denver area.  Craig H. was to be our host, Julie his lovely wife was out of town and we'd miss seeing her during this brief visit.

We were moochdocking on their 20 acre property on the NW side of Helena, Montana.  Very nice house and property....I was quite envious.  Craig and their two dogs spent some time being shown around the property and catching up.

Then Martha urged Craig and I to go for a ride.  You see, I'd known Craig since the beginning days of me being a Uralista!  He rides a Gear-UP with the Arctic Camo paint scheme.

Craig led the way to the nearby (about 30 min away) Helena National Forest after showing me Lake Helena which he told me is no more than 10" deep at any one location.  I wonder how accurate that is....

Anyways, the dirt road taking one into Helena National Forest was quite lovely, on the way in you go through the "Cribbage Capital of the World", the rather small settlement of Nelson.  Not sure about their claim but here you go:

I found Helena National Forest to be quite nice a ride, very heavily forested with cool rock formations and several spots where one can do dispersed camping!

 Uraling along Refrigerator Canyon

Returning back to Craig's home in Helena, he fed us dinner while we watched four deer munch on the vegetation on his property, perhaps 100 feet from us.

 Craig, dogs Indy and Liesl and yours truly

Patrick and the dogs

Again, sadly, Julie wasn't home, she's due back tomorrow sometime but unfortunately we'll be gone as we must make tracks for Washington State.

Thank you Craig for the great ride and for the great hospitality.  Both Martha and I got some good vibes from the Helena area, we might be back for some more exploring and research.


RichardM said...

Your friends are in the same area as good friends of ours from Fairbanks where we moochdocked a couple of times last year. This year, they were on a motorcycle trip through the PNW. Nice area!

SonjaM said...

Moochdocking, eh? I had to look that up, didn't know there was a specific term for camping on your friend's "lawn".

By the look of their faces the dogs seem to be seriously infatuated with Patrick.

dom chang said...

I quite agree, RichardM, I like that part of Montana.

SonjaM, those dogs were quite friendly.

Craig Heitman said...

Hey Dom ... nice catching up with you and Martha... and thanks for the ride... always nice to get out with old friends... the door’s always open anytime you feel like exploring Montana...

P.S. here’s a boating map of Lake Helena...

dom chang said...

Thanks Craig, don't be surprised to see me query you for a day or so of parking again soon!

Craig Heitman said...

You’re welcome anytime Dom...