Helena, Montana

I visited Yellowstone on Thursday and Friday and thought I’d leave it to the tourists over the weekend.  Saturday I decided I’d like to see more of Montana so I took a long drive north and west of Bozeman, where I am staying.  I drove north to Helena (the state capital), then west to Missoula, then south to the Idaho state line, then east and back to Bozeman.

You are looking at the rotunda inside the Montana state capitol.  I was told this building recently underwent a major renovation and believe me, it shows.  It is absolutely gorgeous.  The main lobby is breathtaking and even the tilework on the floors (I was on three different levels) was amazing. I was hoping to take a photo looking straight up into the dome but there was a tour group congregated in the lobby so I couldn’t get there.  I do have a picture looking straight up in the rotunda of the Texas state capitol but that will have to wait until we get to that part of our program.

While in Helena I also visited the Cathedral of St. Helena which is a huge church not far from the capitol.  It is a very impressive building (inside and out) and I was told by someone there that it might not even exist but for a $1 million donation by a wealthy miner.

Next I drove over to Missoula to see a carousel featuring hand-carved animals made by a local cabinetmaker (it may warrant it’s own blogpost), the Elk Country Visitor Center, and Smokejumpers Base (shown in the post above).  I then drove south on a very nice scenic road until I got to the Idaho state line where I turned east.  More nice scenic back roads until I got back to an interstate, which I took to Butte (stopping to take pictures of the homes of a wealthy copper-baron and his son) then back to Bozeman.

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When I left the dreaded interstate and started driving north towards Helena I saw what appeared to be about 20 horses grazing on a small hill left of the road.  As I was getting ready to go past them I looked again and discovered, much to my amusement, that they were fake!  Kind of like cardboard cutouts (but undoubtedly made of wood or metal) these were life-size, or many even a little bigger, images of horses.  It really cracked me up.

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