Pompey’s Pillar to St. Mary’s Peak – 1062 Images in Two Minutes
Watch video HERE
This short film takes us on a hard-charging road-trip through 847 miles of Montana’s backroads from Pomey’s Pillar, east of Billings, through Yellowstone National Park and ending at the lookout tower at the top of St. Marys Peak just south of Missoula.
I grew up in Montana and have lived in one part of the state or another for most of my life. The distances are so vast that people I meet back east can’t really comprehend it. They would say, “You would drive five hours each way FOR A WEEKEND?!” when I told them about quick trips home to visit my parents. It’s those same distances that make life in the drivers’ seat almost inevitable. I cherished sitting back, putting some music on and letting whatever stories I happened to be working on at the time bounce around in my head. The mountains and rolling prairie often produced bolts of inspiration.
It was also those long distances that had kept me from seeing most of the state. Almost all of my driving has been to get from point A to point B, usually on the interstate. Of course, the interstate through Montana is still visually spectacular compared to many places, but a casual glance at the map showed that I had missed most of the state.
In August, I left Billings without an itinerary and made my way along as many backroads as I could manage, taking into account roads closed by wildfires (which made it impossible to head into the village of Rapelje for breakfast at the Stockman Cafe–my connection to the cafe is a story for another time.) As it was, I gazed across the open prairie from the top of Pompey’s Pillar. I walked along Red Lodge’s tourist-lined streets before spending several days backpacking in the Beartooth Mountains. I wandered through Yellowstone, then backtracked my way into Big Timber with its broken pavement and awesome views of the Crazy Mountains.
Then, climbed the Bozeman Pass, dropping me into Bozeman and Three Forks, where I took a left and headed toward Ennis. This is where I got onto some roads I had, regrettably, never seen before. They were every bit as stunning as a friend of mine said they were. Right-hand turn in Ennis where I climbed up into Virginia and Nevada Cities with their restored gold-rush era buildings and dilapidated everything else. Then, back north and west again, ending up in the Missoula area and St. Marys Peak with its commanding views of the Bitterroot Mountains. Wildfires flaired up all around as the wind whipped across the peaks. After days of driving roads at highway speed, those columns of smoke reaching into the sky reminded me just how big and wild a place Montana still is.
See some of the images from the video HERE.