Rock City, Valier, Montana
Daytripping in Montana can mean many different things to many people. Back in the 60’s it might have meant dropping some illicit drug and zoning out for the duration. But on a perfect day for us it meant driving 90 miles north to Valier to visit a little-known geographic oddity called Rock City. Even third or fourth generation Montanans have no knowledge of this tucked-away treasure just minutes off the seldom-traveled Interstate 15.
We filled up the picnic basket with fresh blueberries, creamy Gouda cheese, and Flathead cherries. Then loaded up the car with two of our most magical friends, Craig and Sandra. Embee had visited this magical place many times before, but this was a first for Craig, Sandra, and me. The road to Rock City is, appropriately named, Rock City Road. You just get on this road and drive straight north. Even when the road starts to bend west, just keep staying north. You will travel through agriculture fields and the road will get way less travelled…and more bumpy and narrow. Just keep going. You’ll know when you get there.
An expansive field of hoodoos will greet you as these rock formations majestically make your eyes go agog and your jaw drop at their beauty. You can walk around, over, through, and between these unique stacked towers. At one point during my rambling in the natural maze it felt like I was walking the narrow streets of Paris with tall buildings lining up on each side. I felt lost and alone—but in a very good way.
The adventurous ones can follow the faint trail down to the Two Medicine River just downstream from where Birch Creek joins in. If it hadn’t been a coolish-windy day we would have taken advantage of a sweet little swimming hole with a nice sandy beach. There were footprints of many other adventurers—but of a more natural nature. Raccoons and deer must frequent the small river valley and drink in the sweet cool water where we drank in the serenity of Mother Nature.
Our drive back to the center of Valier took us past our favorite ghost sign on the side of a building.
Although the business is long defunct you can’t help but wonder what type of a man Gilboe was and where he came from.
No visit to Valier, Montana is complete without a stop at the Panther Café. Just pop in for a Huckleberry ice cream cone, a burger and fries, or truly Broasted chicken. The owners and their daughters are delightful and will put a smile on your face as you walk away with a very happy tummy.
Rock City will have to remain a secret for my readers since my camera chose to flake out on me while taking the pictures.
But if you use your imagination to fill in where the shutter shuts you out, you may find yourself sitting on top of one of the tremendous hoodoos contemplating your navel. Or if you’re lucky, someone else’s.