Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Story of Garnet: Montana's Best-Preserved Ghost Town...

Gather around my friends for I'm about to tell you a wonderful ghost story...

In 1898, Garnet was a booming gold camp with nearly 1,000 residents.  The hushed     woods once echoed with the rumbling of wagons chock-full of gold ore.  Teamsters urged horses down muddy streets.  Mine hoists clanged.  Whistles blew.  Children raced to school.  The town included four stores, four hotels, three livery stables, two barber shops, a union hall, a school, a butcher shop, a candy shop, a doctor's office, an assay office, and thirteen saloons.  The surrounding mountains were rich in gold-bearing quartz so Garnet grew rapidly until about 1905 when many of the mines were abandoned.  The 1910 census found only 150 residents.  In 1912, fire destroyed many of the commercial buildings and by the 1920's Garnet was a ghost town...

Today, we need our imagination to hear the piano tinkling when we enter into Kelly's Saloon or to feel the heat of the forge at Billy Liberty's blacksmith shop.  When we climb the stairs of Mrs. Well's fine hotel, we have to picture it when the wallpaper was all in tact and beautiful, the tables all set, the beds all made up, ready for her guests...

Twenty-two buildings they were able to preserve, which is quite a lot considering that many were lost in the 1912  fire.  In 1934 when President Roosevelt raised gold prices from $16 to $35 an ounce, Garnet revived.  With the higher price and new extraction and refining technology available, a new wave of miners moved into abandoned cabins and began re-working the mines and dumps.  By 1936, Garnet had grown to some 250 residents.  During this era, miners also constructed a number of new log cabins.  Life was good in Garnet. 

It was not to last, however, with the onset of war drew the population away again.  By 1942 the post office closed and only a few hardy residents remained.  Soon, souvenir hunters began stripping the town of loose items, even doors, stained glass, artifacts even woodwork.  The Bureau of Land Management and the Garnet Preservation Assn. stepped in to secure title to properties, with the goal of protecting, stabilizing and eventually interpreting this important physical reminder of our mining heritage.  Garnet is now recognized as one of Montana's most intact ghost towns, and thousands of visitors make the trek up the steep mountain roads each year to experience history first-hand. I'm sure glad we did!

Garnet Ghost Town MT

Kelly's Saloon (c1898), Garnet Ghost Town MT

Ole & Marion Dahl's 1930s Tavern or "Speakeasy", Garnet Ghost Town MT
The Honeymoon Cabin (c1896) Newlyweds could live rent free until another newly couple came along       
The J K Wells Hotel (c1897) was the most impressive bldg in Garnet

Billy Liberty's Blacksmith Shop (c1896), Garnet Ghost Town MT 
Last looks...Garnet Ghost Town MT

...on the road in Montana,  Marie

If you wish to view the rest of the photos from this trip, you can at my Flickr account at:

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Crusin' thru the Cascades!

The Washington Cascade Mountains have been on my "bucket list" for quite some time, but when one only likes to traverse mountains during the summer months, it has limited us on when we can take this adventure!  There are only a few months each summer...and so many places calling has to make choices!  This year, coming out of Canada when we did, it seemed like the perfect time to do it. 

The Cascades zig zag all through the state of Washington, and it's not like you can just drive from here to there in one fell swoop, oh no.  So, Jack got out his trusty yellow marker and found just about all the scenic dotted lines on the map he could find and started connecting them all!  It started looking like a loop-de-loop, but it seemed to work, and it got us around the mountains and from one end of the state to the other!  We weren't in any hurry, so it really didn't matter.  We checked with family and friends and made a couple of corrections, checked the weather, let the rain settle down one more day, then we were on our way!

I didn't make any camping reservations until we were on the road, not really knowing how long each day would take us, or how long we were going to stay.  It didn't turn out to be a problem, other than poor cell service in a lot of areas through the mountains, but even that didn't really slow us down much. 

Traffic was pretty good most of the trip, which I was surprised considering it's still "summer" and I would have thought more people would be out there getting the last of their vacation time in, but it wasn't even very busy in the tourist towns like Leavenworth. 

We had great weather too, except for some fog patches that surprised (me)!  All of a sudden we went from sun to deep fog as we climbed up and around a bend one day!  Wow, it just swooshed in on us, but thankfully it wasn't there for very many miles.  It was pretty scary tho there for a bit.  Otherwise, no rain and no cold to speak of, which I was really surprised and very happy about!  Love that sunshine!  ;-)

We certainly went up and down a lot, from down in the valleys to as high as 5890', which my head can attest to.  I had forgotten that migraines and altitude don't really do well together (for me), so that was a down-side for me this week, but worth it, anyway (I just don't think I'll be making the trip any time again soon). 

We ended our trip, coming out through the cute little town of Twisp Washington, then into Sandpoint Idaho and into Kalispell Montana where we are today.  I'll leave you with a smattering of pictures, as that's the real story...I took tons, as you can imagine, so if you want more, you know you can always find them on my flicker account!  ;-)  To really get the should turn on a CD of nature music, you know the kind...with orchestra music and birds singing...then you will feel like you were right there with us!  ;-)  Enjoy the trip!

Skookum Falls, Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest WA
Fog!, Chinook Scenic Byway, Snoqualmie National Forest WA
Norse Peak Wilderness, Wenatchee National Forest WA
Cascade River, Wenatche National Forest, Tumwater Canyon WA
North Cascades WA

Gorge Falls, North Cascades WA
Ross Lake, North Cascades WA   
Silver Star Mountain (8876'), North Cascades WA   

Tower Mountain (8444'), North Cascades WA
Okanogan Forest WA
...sitting back in Montana,  Marie

If you wish to view the rest of the photos from this trip, you can at my Flickr account at: