Bannack State Park

Dillion Montana Plains

Dillon Montana Plains

Wow that went fast. The first leg of my 1,700 mile, month long trip south, was less than three hours before seemingly arriving in the middle of no where! But hidden down in a tranquil valley sits the old town of Bannack, just like it has for over a hundred years.  Of course now it’s deserted and only the ghost and memories walk the boardwalks.  In fact when I arrived there were only two other cars in the parking lot.  That seemed weird, but it is off season now.

After registering at the town office, I pulled into my site for the night.  I then set about the task of getting my camp set up before going back into town about a half a mile away.

Camp next to Grasshopper Creek

Camp next to Grasshopper Creek

Grasshopper Creek

Grasshopper Creek

My camp was prefect for dry camping.  It was right on the Grasshopper Creek, close enough that I could cast  a fishing line out my Coach window.

The entire park was only large enough for about a dozen rigs and a few tent sites.

One of my camp neighbors, it turns out, lives near home in Hamilton.  What a coincidence, I had just met them at a dinner held at a friends house a month or so earlier.  I had no idea they were coming here to get away and celebrate their wedding anniversary.  They said they come here to camp occasionally and it close to home.

Road to Town

Road to Town

Okay, all set up now and I head back to walk the town.  Like most ghost towns there is an eerie feeling when going into buildings with so much history.  This is the first ghost town that I have been to that let you freely explore the town and buildings inside and out.

The Hotel was in better shape than most of the other buildings in town. A sign indicating the state had spent over $200,000 to redo the foundation and stabilize the structure.  They also were working on refurbishing the plaster on the walls.  What a great building.

The school was also in good shape.  They had brought in furnishings to resemble what it looked like when in use many years before.

Town Church and Homes

Town Church and Homes

Strolling down the main road in town you can image what it was like so many lifetimes ago.

I had to check out the jail so I moseyed over to the Sheriff’s and went behind to see the crude structures in the rear.

The Jail - Known to hold those who soon hung from a rope

The Jail – Known to hold those who soon hung from a rope

They were built out over the small cliff allowing a hole cut in the floor to be used as the “facility”.  Inside the wood seemed to be in decent shape.  Very heavy planks and Iron bars on the small windows.  No one would be getting out of here.

Glad I am on this side

Glad I am on this side

The windows were built as to allow the occupants to see the brand new gallows on the hill.  It was some distance away and I had no desire to hike out to the site although I wouldn’t mind seeing boot hill cemetery.

It’s my understanding that eventually the sheriff used the gallows and the jail he had built not only for bad guys, but on the rope end!  Apparently he wasn’t thought to be person he once was.

The town had so many buildings I was unable to see them all in the time I had, so I am sure I will return one day.  For now I travel back to my camp and prepare for the long night. I will be listening to the whispering voices  of long ago, telling of the excitement trying their hand at striking it rich panning for gold or stealing some and paying the price.

Note: I had many more pictures to share, too many for this blog.  I chose twenty-five, including these and they are shared on my gallery at: Bannack State Park Photo Album

Safe travels until next time, Gary

The Church

The Church

Mining Equipment

Mining Equipment

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7 Comments

  1. Sandie October 4, 2014 Reply
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  2. John L. October 4, 2014 Reply
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  3. Linda October 11, 2014 Reply

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