The Gravelly Mountains of southwestern Montana are certainly not a roadless area, and plenty of ranchers run cows and sheep on them during the summer. But they’re one of our favorite car-camping destinations, especially in late July when the wide meadows are packed with wildflowers. Lupine, indian paintbrush, sticky geranium cover the hillsides, and you can find campsites with views that go on forever.
Last year we found the perfect spot looking out over the Madison River Valley. Thunderstorms rolled in during the afternoon, but the sun broke through toward evening, and a double rainbow arched over our camper:
I know, it looks like an ad for either the pickup or the camper. No apologies, though – I do love our little pop-up camper. Here’s a picture without the ad:
Ranchers hire sheepherders from South America who spend the whole summer in the high country watching the sheep with the help of their horse and dogs. We usually run into one or two of them as we wander around:
This really is a wonderful – and pretty much off the beaten path – area. I’m pleased that when I’m too old to carry a backpack for a long distance, I’ll still have beautiful spots like the Gravelly Mountains that I can reach by car. And when I’m too old to even go by car, I’ll have these pictures!