Garnet, Montana

Over the holiday weekend, Alma and I met up to walk her dog, Nugget, by the river. Afterwards, we grabbed a beer at The Front Brewing Company and Alma had an idea. 'Let's go to Garnet tomorrow?!' 

And, the next day, that's just what we did. 

If you haven't heard of Garnet, don't worry. It's not some mecca you are missing out on and it's not some majestic, hidden Glacier National Park. It's a ghost town. No, really. Garnet is an actual ghost town. It was a town of miners back during the gold rush in the 1860s. Now, it's a bunch of ghost-y, abandoned buildings in the middle of Western Montana. 

Garnet is about 2 1/2 hours drive from Great Falls. We loaded up Nugget {Alma's dog} and headed west, Vance Joy and Hozier blasted on the stereo. 

The road is paved until the Garnet Ghost Town turn off. There is a parking lot and a $3 fee per person that's based on the honor code system. We paid our fee and headed down to the town. For those of you with dogs, Garnet is a total win. Dogs are allowed {on their leashes} through the entire town and even up all three stories of the saloon! 

These adventure buddies and I explored the whole town. Some parts, like the jail, were eerie and we decided {both being big believers in ju-ju} that we weren't quite brave enough to mess with whatever might be inside. 

Walking through the general store, we saw a collection of old shoes that have been found over the years since the town closed and mining tools. Alma and I had just finished season five of Hell on Wheels {thank you for the rec, Alms} and we felt like we were stepping on set! There were canned food tins and old Folger's coffee jars. We even got to see the poker tables where the men would have played cards after their shifts. It was helpful that most buildings had plaques that explained what they were used for and how the town would have run. 

It's always interesting, being a history geek, to see how much smaller everything was in the past. The door to the outhouse was only a few inches taller than me and the beds in the *cough cough* "hotel" were much as short as me. 

After looking around the town, we set out on one of the many hiking trails in Garnet. The sun was shining and Nugget was having the time of her life. However...

IMG_0395 (667x1000).jpg

...there was something we could have done without-- the shooting. Which, just to be clear was not allowed in the area we were in. We headed out on our hike and everything at the start was great. After we were about a mile in we started hearing shots. Loud shots. They couldn't have been that far away from us and they were continuous. 

I have my own opinions about guns {I don't think anyone who doesn't hunt for his own food on his own land should ever need one}, but I understand that the gun culture in America is alive and well {or rather, truly disgusting and disturbing}. Montana, however, is full of wildlife and so I do understand {on some level} that the people here carry guns because bears and mountain lions are a reality. But to be shooting constantly in a place surrounded by hiking trails on a weekend when people are out enjoying the beauty of this place, it made our hike more anxious than we would have liked. "Are they shooting at something?" "Are they just shooting?!" "How close do you think they are?" 

Despite the sound of gunshots, we both agreed there is nothing like a good day out in Montana-- sincerely. 

We hit the road, grateful to have just missed the downpour, and made sure to stop by Hi-Country Trading Post for homemade fudge {which you may have seen on my Snapchat}. I ended up getting the Pistachio flavor and then instantly regretted the small block I bought instead of just indulging in, say, a half-pound. Food regrets, the worst. Sigh. 

Until the next adventure, I'm off to eat some fudge then probably go run it off.