The drive from Great Falls to Billings is a three and a half hour series of zig zags through Big Sky Country. To our right of course is that familiar friend, the Rocky Mountain Range. On our left is the beginnings of the high plains stretching as far east as the Dakotas. One quite never gets used to the vastness of the scenery.
It keeps things in perspective. Im reminded that as large and cumbersome as my troubles in life can seem, its irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. Im just a speck on a tiny dot on the smallest rock stuck in the treads of my shoe. Something about that feels comforting. Hitting the city of Harlowton meant we were half way there. The highway cuts a valley through some the gorgeous stand alone mountains of Crazy, Little Bell, and Big Snowy. These are all within the lewis & Clark National Forest. With so little rain here the vegetation is no taller than knee high.
Trees are far and few in between. As empty and arid as things may appear, this is actually part of the agricultural center of Montana. All of that grass swaying in the wind are really fields of barley and wheat. Cattle roam freely throughout, but mostly spend their time near the freeway watching passing cars. If your gaze ventures up, you’ll notice sheep clinging to the cliffs of menacing looking hills. With butts feeling sore and legs needing stretched, it was decided that Billings was the end of the road for the day. After finding sleeping accommodations we wandered about looking for things to do.
Our search led us to a lively downtown center with sports bars, ice cream shops, and upscale dining. If you have more than just a short layover here theres plenty to do. South of Billings is Pictograph State Park. This is a National Historic Landmark preserving early human habitation in North America from as far back as 2,000 years ago. If you have some extra time, about an hour east sits The Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.
The area memorializes the famous battle between the US Army's 7th Cavalry and the Lakota's and Cheyennes people. This is the site of Lt. Col Custers death at the hand of forces led by Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull. Theres never quite enough time to fit everything in. Thats the beauty of life, its finite. Get out and do something with it!