Exploring The Missouri Headwaters – Hellgate

Travel Journal – July 14, 2016

1-20160715_174004This is our third day at Hellgate and there’s not much going on, so I ask Jagger if he want’s to do some exploring with me. Of course he jumps up and down at the thought of leaving our camp. I’ve never been to Hellgate Campground before or Helena for that matter. We pile into the Workhorse and off we go heading south on highway 284. We came in this way, but my goal was to find out what the small town of Townsend was all about. Townsend is the closest town with a small store it turns out. Of course I’m enjoying the countryside along the way.  The view is full of open land with mountains framing it, stretching as far as you can see. Most of the land in this valley seems to be private farming or cattle ranches. I didn’t realize Montana had so much farming. I thought it was too far north, having extreme winters, but it looks like my thinking was shattered on that one.

Endless Montana LandscapesOnce we arrive in town, I stop at a “Town Pump” for some milk, then we drive around for about 10 minutes covering most of the town.

Oh, there’s the Post Office Jagger. I pull into the parking lot and find a spot big enough for the Workhorse. I need to pick up some stamps since I mail postcards to the grandkids and I ran out last week.

I wait in line behind one person. The lady behind the counter is  very friendly. Maybe because I am in Montana? When it’s my turn I step up and purchase my stamps. She asks if there is anything else she can do for me. Well actually I have a question. I’ve always wondered what the appropriate way was to address mail to “General Delivery”. She proceeds to tell me all the rules and writes down the format to use. I thank her and take my leave.

Since I am always on the road, I sometimes have difficulty being at an address long enough for packages to arrive. Now I can plan ahead and pick up the package when I arrive at the next destination. Apparently I can use that General Delivery address for up to a month at each location.

Crossing the narrow dam - Canon FerryJagger and I take off in the Workhorse and continue our exploration. On the way back to camp we take a different route back to the Coach. Once we arrive I start the generator and prepare my dinner. It’s so nice being able to use the microwave occasionally. I splurge and watch a movie, before turning off the generator and calling it a night.

Travel Journal – July 15, 2016

Friday morning I wake have breakfast and just hang around the camp. Not much going on in this area and it’s a 30 minute drive to get to any conveniences, like a gas station, so we mostly lay around reading and enjoying some quiet time.

When we do leave it’s usually across the dam, towards Helena about 20 miles away. I’ve decided when we move camp we will be towing the Coach back the way we came, adding a half hour to the trip due to the narrow road with sharp turns over the Canon Ferry dam.

Camp Loop A - Site 17

Camp Loop A – Site 17

As the day passes, people begin to roll in and the campground is full by the end of the day. The busy weekend starts, along with and elevation in noise levels due to the speed boats on the lake. It’s still a nice place to camp and I enjoy the conversation with neighbors.

Travel Journal – July 19, 2016

Only tonight and tomorrow before we head out again. Tonight it’s a full moon, very warm 77 degrees at 11 pm, but there’s a cool breeze blowing through the Coach. At 3 am Jagger growls and barks, which is very unusual. I look out the window and I see a silhouette between the Coach and the lake, not 75 feet away. It’s a large coyote. Good job Jagger. I go back to sleep knowing Jagger is on guard.

Safe Travels…Gary

2 replies

  1. Hi Gary,
    We met at Thompson Falls campground on July 28th. I am the cyclist that camped in a hammock in the day use area. I enjoyed our conversation and was pleased to find your card in my camping gear as I started planning my next trip. I’m having fun reading your blog. Good to see you keeping with your dream.


    • Hi Marianne, Yes I remember. I guess you made it to Missoula and your family picked you up? I’m glad you found me online and glad your having fun reading my adventure. I’ve camped all over and Thompson Falls campground is one of my favorites. Take care. Hope I hear from you again.


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