Monday, June 3, 2024

Second honeymoon, Day 12

Our last day on the road. We planned pretty much to take Hwy 90 all the way into Idaho and call it good. However outside of Butte we saw this massive tower. What could it be?

So, as one of our final impulsive decisions, we turned off Hwy 90 onto Hwy 1 through the company town of Anaconda.

After making some inquiries, we found ourselves at the Anaconda Stack State Park.

The park was dedicated to the Anaconda Stack (as it was called), but it was still a good distance away from the structure. Still, closer up, its scale was impressive.

See the size of the power pole at the base for scale.

The Anaconda Stack, as it turns out, is the tallest surviving masonry structure in the world, about 585 feet in height. 

The park had a couple of ore buckets. Again, massive.

It took a couple minutes to figure out why this little park had a circular pit in the middle.

As it turns out, the outer sidewalk represented the outside dimension at the base of the stack...

...while the bricked-in circular pit in the center represented the inside diameter at the top of the stack (60 feet across).

How clever is that? It was an excellent visual.

The park had many informative signs, including a comparison with other monuments (it's a touch taller than the Washington Monument, for example, but not nearly as tall as the Eiffel Tower).

Well pleased with how well-done this park was, we left and drove through Anaconda itself, a company town built for the workers of the mining operations. It was a snug and prosperous-looking place.

We continued on Hwy 1, climbing in elevation until we crested  some mountains with the Discovery Basin Ski Area and Georgetown Lake. The land still had the barren look of early spring, and the lake still had snow along its edges.

We passed a historical marker for the Atlantic Cable Quartz Lode, detailing how gold was discovered with the usual booms and busts, although for a while a mere 500-foot length of ground yielded $6.5 million in gold.

We dropped down the other side of the mountains, noticing in passing a small landslide.

Looking for somewhere to have breakfast, we stopped in a tiny town called Philipsburg, and had one of the most wonderful surprises on our trip. It was an absolutely splendidly restored 19th-century mining town. We were enchanted.

It was early enough in the day and/or the season that nothing – absolutely nothing – was open, so we simply walked up and down the streets, awash in admiration. Look at these beautiful details!

Even the alleyways were charming, including a cat.

It even had a law enforcement museum.

It had a stylish carving of Big Foot... to a cool little hippie house.

The whole town was beautifully restored and tourist-dependent, but not obnoxiously so. It was, as I described to Older Daughter later on, chi-chi without the "chi." Highly recommended.

However as nothing was open and we were getting hungry, we pressed on looking for a place to eat. We finally found a place in Missoula.

After this we stayed on Hwy 90 and simply blasted home.

Still cattle country. 

Beautiful old barn.

Ah, that's the sign we were looking for.

Home at last! As you can imagine, Mr. Darcy was ecstatic to see us.

Early the next morning, we unpacked the rental car and dumped everything on the back porch.

The trip was over, but the memories remain. Thanks for joining us on our second honeymoon!


  1. Thank you! I've really enjoyed the travelogue, and maybe someday I'll be able to head out and do some exploring of my own. This world really is wondrous, isn't it?

  2. Great job on the whole trip and looks like you guys had a great time!

  3. Patrice and Don, thank you so much for taking us along. My husband and I used your Second Honeymoon posts as part of our “morning briefings”. It was a refreshing addition considering most of our briefing material is serious. If you get a chance (tough, I know, considering the family additions) I would love to see some kind of map of your trip (hand drawn is fine), indicating your overnight stops.

  4. Thank you for sharing your travels with us. I believe it's the best "vacation slide show" that I've seen! (I believe I just dated myself, didn't I?)

  5. Phillipsburg is a wonderful little town! However, there is a big Seventh Day Adventist population so most of the businesses are closed on Saturdays, something not a lot of people realize. But I highly recommend checking out the Sweet Palace and Gem Mountain sapphire mining and taking the Skalkaho Falls pass if you're ever back this way!

  6. What a joy reading about your 2nd honeymoon trip. For the heck of it and because I wanted to see visually where you traveled, I made this Google Earth map of your trip. Red placemarks are the beginning of each day. I hope you enjoy seeing your trip visually.

    Only you and I can edit the map with the link below. Feel free to edit, copy or share it at will.

    Edward Jacobs

    1. That's really neat, Edward! Thanks for doing that.

    2. Thanks, Patrice, for sharing your fascinating trip with us! What fun it was to read it and view your well-captured pics.

    3. Edward, that is WAY COOL! Thank you!

      - Patrice