Despite the fact that White Sulphur Springs had the worst breakfast in the world – all I can described is powdered eggs over cooked and grape jelly as the only option on toast – we stuck around for a little exploring before heading West.  This deer was following his friends through the fresh snow, and we thought he was a bit friendly.


Once we hit the road it was ranch land everywhere.  We were headed into the Big Belt mountains, but there was some flat land along the way.


Once in awhile we’d catch some color besides white brown and blue (see below) but really it was a very simple, uncomplicated looking landscape – and beautiful too!

IMG_5945smAfter we crossed the Big Belts we dropped into Townsend and then followed the Missouri River into Toston – practically a ghost town, but not quite one yet.  The bridge over the Missouri into Toston is an old one, and this is the spot where Tank fell into the Missouri last winter.


The water moves pretty fast, and there are ice islands floating throughout.  But what really caught my attention was that it appeared that the structures under the water were actually covered with ice.  Don’t have a photo to share of that, but it did amaze me – the idea of ice under water just doesn’t seem quite right.  It looked like moss covering the rocks, only it was greenish white and smooth like ice.


As soon as I saw Toston from across the river I knew I’d be outside of the car and Andy would be waiting awhile.  It was just building after building of decay and disrepair – all of the type that makes for some of the most interesting photos in my book.  But the funny thing was that half the buildings showed evidence of still being occupied – smoke coming from the ceiling, dogs tied in the yard, that type of stuff.  To honor the privacy of those folks, I tried not to point my lens directly at them.  But my heart was heavy to think that someone was in those structures when the temps were in the lower single digits because they just didn’t look weather worthy.


This one is right on the “main drag” which is a dirt road running parallel to the railroad tracks, which in turn run parallel to the Missouri.


A side view of that same building (couldn’t take the other side, which had like an old porch on the second floor, because it appeared occupied).

IMG_5988smThis little window in a small building next to the previous one, mystified me.  It looks so old and so abandon, but how do those curtains, fully exposed to the elements, retain their colors?  Is it recently abandon?  Where the colors once even brighter?  Did someone try to create privacy in there more recently than the rest of the decline in the building?  There is a story in there somewhere, but not one that I will ever know.

IMG_5996smNow doesn’t this look like it was once a real nice place?  Trees in the yard, still standing straight, right on that main drag I described earlier – beautiful views of the river by the way.  Another story I just won’t know.

IMG_6001smA cute little starter home for someone, once upon a time.

IMG_6002smI imagine this was some old single guys place, maybe an old crusty miner or something.

IMG_6005smThis beauty is actually right on the Missouri (across the road and the railroad tracks from the others.  Looks like it once ws very stately.  Probably not that long ago either – notice the light fixture on the pole on the left side, and the cross-hatch lattice boards along the foundation.  So sad that it is now in such disrepair.  Wonder if it flooded and that is why it was abandon – you can see there river there behind the shrubs on the right side.

The we left Toston and headed towards home. 

IMG_6028smthose horses aren’t real – sculptures.  The sign calls them Bleu Horses ( and they are by Jim Dolan who I think resides in our own Gallatin Valley.  You can click on the link to see one up close.  Unfortunately, I think last month one or more of them were stolen, but recovered.  Wish I could have hiked up there to get a closer look, but at that point Andy was just ready to get home, and I didn’t have good hiking-through-drifted-snow boots with me.

And that was our trip.  There are lots more photos that might show up someday, but these past few posts just give you a taste of the travel part of it.

Categories: Art, Montana, Outdoors, Photography, River, snow, Travel, Vacation, Winter | Leave a comment

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