We headed for Montana for our second season of camp ground hosting in Glacier National Park. We were on I-90 in Montana and decided to stop for a couple of days somewhere. We got close to Clinton, Montana and saw signs advertising an RV campground called Bearmouth RV Park and Chalet. We decided to stop for a couple of days and check out the area. It was beautiful with all of the mountains and rivers running along the interstate.
We saw the campground off to the right side of the interstate. The next exit was the way to get there. Just from what we saw from the interstate looked really nice. It was right on the river with mountains on the other side. A huge log chalet was the office and also a bar/restaurant upstairs.
We got of the interstate and drove up to the office. They were not real busy as this was early in their season in May. We talked to the people there and immediately liked the people and the campground. We got a site almost right next to the crystal clear river. To early in the season to go swimming as the water was ice cold. We got settled in and went up to the bar to see what was in the area.
They told us about a ghost town not far from here that we should go and check out. It was called Garnet, Montana ghost town.
They told us the history of the town and how it is actually haunted. This is how the town is officially described by the BLM. They are actually the people that take care of the town.
After sundown, the spirits of the town’s former residents reportedly come out to engage in what used to be their daily activities. Locals have reported hearing eerie piano notes struck from inside the old saloon, often accompanied by the chatter of distant voices.
Some local residents claim the ghosts hide in the shadows of the town. There are also reports of transparent figures in period clothing walking between the buildings, though there have never been any sightings actually captured on video.
During a visit to Garnet, Bureau of Land Management historian Allan Mathews reportedly saw the figure of a woman standing in the window of the town’s old hotel. He was never able to confirm whether he’d actually seen a ghost that fateful day…
We decided to go there the next afternoon. They gave us directions to get to it. The next day we just went driving around and checked the area out. We did come upon something that was really strange. It was at the next exit on the interstate, still calling itself as Clinton, Montana, advertising a Testicle Festival.
After we talked to some of the people at the campground about it we decided it was nothing we were interested in going to. Just recently I went online to check out the so called festival and it is as nasty as it sounds. Some people we spoke with from the area said it was pretty nasty. Lots of nudity and some really perverted things go on there. You can go online and see some pictures of the past festival and see just how nasty it is. It has been going on for 31 years and they say they have thousands of people show up. We will never be one of them.
It was early afternoon and we decided to go and check out the ghost town. We headed up the gravel road they had told us was how to get there. They told us to take the second left gravel road and it would take us to it. We got to the second road and took a left. Big Mistake. We went about a mile and it changed to a dirt road going up a mountain. Not long after that it changed to a one lane dirt road. We had a several hundred feet dropoff on the right side of the road and up against a wall on the left side. No where to turn around as we were in the 4 door dually truck. So we kept going a ways and it was now nothing but a lane with grass in the center and 2 paths for your tires. Looking over the big dropoff on the right we could see at the bottom the remains of what looked like a Chevy Blazer on it’s roof at the bottom. We went just a little bit farther and there was a gate on the left side that led up the side of the mountain. I pulled into it as far as I could and then proceeded to go forward and backward inching the truck around. It took a long time but we finally got turned around and headed back down, relieved that we finally were able to get off that road.
When we got back down to the main road we turned left and headed farther the way we started. Sure enough we got up the road just a little bit and there was another road to the left with a sign pointing up it and saying Ghost Town. It was getting dark s we knew we would not get to see much but we went up anyway. It really looked deserted and spooky as we got into the town. We stopped for a minute and decided to head back to the campground. About that time we saw a sign on the front of one of the buildings and pulled up to read it. Karan put her window down to try to see it in the almost dark and all of a sudden there was a voice that said Can I Help You? On the porch was a tall man that looked dead, talking to us. He was dressed in black western style coat and clothes that looked dirty and worn. He looked like an undertaker, pale white face but still looked dead. Scared the crap out of us! We told him we were just looking and quickly turned around and left.
When we got back to the campground we went into the bar and ask why they told us the second left. They kind of laughed and said they forgot about the road we went up. They said we were lucky as the road got even worse had we gone on and no where to turn around. They apologized but still think they did it on purpose. But, we still love the campground and will be going back there again.
We talked about going back the next day but decided to go on to Glacier and add that ghost town on a to do later list. Headed out the next morning and got into Glacier to see where we were going to be parked. We talked to the ranger in charge and they told us we would be in loop D until they saw our new 40 ft fifth wheel. They said that no rv’s over 28 ft could get around D loop and that we would need to go around the loop because our site was at the very beginning of the loop and had to be backed into. We went to look and as you come into the campground the signs say that rv’s over 28 ft can not make the loop around D loop. That part is right, it is a very sharp and narrow road around the loop and no room at all to maneuver around and back into the first spot. And then they said that the campground host site was too narrow probably for our unit with slideouts on both sides.
After looking I said I would back it down the road, over a 1/4 mile and just back into the site. They all laughed and said I could try but they would see about us getting a different site. We got turned around and started backing down the curvy road, slowly. I made it all the way to the campground and backed into the site. I tried to center it between the big trees hoping for enough room for the slideouts. Got it to where it looked good and started putting the slides out very slowly a little at a time. And when we got them fully out we had a little over an inch on each side so we unhooked the truck and leveled, hooked up water, electric and sewer. We were so happy that we did it. Not long after we had a lot of park personnel coming down to see the 40ft fifth wheel near D loop.
We started exploring this new campground and fell in love with it. Fish Creek campground is directly on Lake McDonald.
You can walk from the campground directly along the lake shore. Beautiful views and crystal clear water. There are big trees everywhere and it was just lucky that the forest fires from the year before did not take the entire campground out.
Our job in this campground was the same as last year in Apgar. We were assigned loops D and C and occasionally we would help with B. There were 3 couples in Apgar working as camground host. One couple, Joe and Mary, from Pennsylvania, had been there for many, many years. They came back every year and were kind of a fixture in the park. Super nice people that everyone loved. People that came to Glacier camping over the years knew them and knew that if they had a question about anything in Glacier National Park Joe and Mary could answer it. The other couple working with us were Al and Sharon, really nice people from Cincinnati, Ohio. This was their first year doing the campground hosting in a National Park. We would work 5 days a week, no exact hours. Our job was to walk around the campground checking to be sure no food, drinks or coolers were out with no one around them. We also checked to make sure everyone had the payment tag on the post in front of their site. Mostly we just tried to help people with any problems or questions they may have.
We met lots of friendly people in the park from all around the world. I carried a camera around my neck all the time. I enjoyed taking pictures of scenery, animals and people. I never did like seeing families taking pictures and there was always one person left out because they were taking the pictures. Anytime I would see that I always went up to them and ask if I could take the picture for them. Whenever I would see a family sitting at the picnic table together eating I would ask them if I could take their picture. After I took it I would go back to the camper and print out an 8 x 11 photo and take it back and give it to them. A lot of times they thought I was selling the pictures and say they did not want it, but I would tell them it was free and no strings attached. Several times they cried and said they could not afford a family portrait and that was the first one they had. It just felt good to do that and I really enjoyed it. Once I asked a young couple if I could take their picture and they said as long as I did not show anyone else. I thought that was strange but I agreed. After I took the picture one of the rangers told me not to tell anyone who they were because they were famous movie stars sneeking away from the press. He told me who they were but I did not know them. I took the picture back to them and they thanked me for it. Since then she has become very famous and I don’t remember who he was.
I had someone tell me about a magazine that would pay for pictures called the Montana Magazine. I contacted them and they explained that each month they would send out a list to photographers of what pictures they needed for next months magazine. They would pay $50 for each picture they would use. The trick was that they would pick the one picture they thought was the best of all of them submitted. So I signed up for the list and started taking pictures for them. This was another way to make some money while fulltiming. Then, I expanded by taking lots of nature pictures in Glacier. We went into town and found a store that had a large selection of cheap picture frames. They were wooden and looked like something you would find in a log cabin or rustic house. We framed the pictures I took and then went to different gift shops in town and sold them. Some of the shops would just buy them and some would put them in on consignment. Cost about $3.00 total for the picture and the frame and we sold them for $20 to $25 dollars. Fun and easy hobby to make a little money.
That’s it for now, keep checking back, more to come.