Larry & Lee Ann's Journey travel blog

Traveling I-94 between Glendive & Billings...

Pretty Yellowstone River...

Interesting...

Love the name...Maybe someone should name their next daughter this one?

View from our picnic table...

Time for lunch :) And the beautiful view too!

This pics for our friend Rick! He restore all kinds of wagons...

Yep, following Lewis & Clark :)

We've arrived at the Pillar...

Visitor's Center dead ahead...

Love this sign about the 'musquetors', lol!

Exploring the tipi before we go inside...

I didn't know this...

Dad had those same rules when we were kids, lol!

Owned by the women...I like that!

View from inside the tipi, looking up...

Painting inside the museum...

Bronze of Clark...

Time to climb the Pillar...

Over 200 stairs to the top...

Boardwalk to the stairs to top...Hi honey :)

Clark's signature, protected from the elements...

Info sign...

View from this part of the Pillar before we climb higher...

Can you see a mountain lion???

View back down the stairs we are climbing...

Tour guide today...Very informative & nice woman :)

Lovely view up here!

Back down on firm ground again...Panting heavily :)

One last shot of the signature & date we came to see...


Thursday we traveled from Glendive, MT to Billings, MT. This portion of I-94 isn't nearly as scenic as our drive yesterday traveling from ND to just inside the Montana state line. We were looking forward to one stop this afternoon & we weren't disappointed. You might remember that the interpreter at Fort Mandan recommended that we stop at Pompeys Pillar as we traveled along I-94 west. He didn't tell us much so we weren't quite sure what to expect. I actually thought it was going to be a pullout with a small monument like many others we've seen. However, as you will see, it was much more.

Pompeys Pillar National Monument is a rock formation located in south central Montana. It was designated a National Monument on January 17, 2001. The new Pompeys Pillar Interpretive Center opened in 2006. Exhibits in the 5,700-square foot center relate the journey of Captain William Clark and his detachment, including Sacagawea and her son Pomp, down the Yellowstone River Valley in 1806.

The pillar itself stands 150 feet above the Yellowstone River and consists of sandstone. It features an abundance of Native American petroglyphs, as well as the signature of William Clark, co-leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Clark's inscription is the only remaining physical evidence found along the route that was followed by the expedition. The inscription consists of his signature and the date, July 25, 1806. Clark wrote that he climbed the sandstone pillar and "had a most extensive view in every direction on the Northerly Side of the river". He named the outcropping after Jean Baptiste Charbonneau—the son of expedition member Sacagawea—whom he nicknamed "Pompy". His original name for it was "Pompys Tower". Nicholas Biddle, first editor of Lewis and Clark’s journals, changed the name to “Pompeys Pillar.” In 1882 the Northern Pacific Railroad placed an iron grate over the signature as a means of protection. In 1954, the Foote family (former owners of the site) replaced the grate with the present brass and glass case.

Native Americans called the Pillar “the place where the mountain lion lies.” Some observers suggest that a sandstone formation, that is a part of the Pillar, which resembles a mountain lion’s head, is the reason for the name. Another theory cites live mountain lions being spotted in the area.

Today Pompeys Pillar National Monument is open from the first week in May through the last weekend in September. However, the Monument is still open to walk-in visitation during the off-season. We were fortunate enough to arrive just a few days before the close of the season & were able to view the museum as well as to join one of the last tours of the afternoon! Glad we made the stop.

Getting back on the road I called the Elk's Lodge in Billings to see if we could overnight on their property. We got permission to do so & arrived just as Joanne, the office manager was leaving for the day. We got parked & headed off to Costco to pick up a few needed items. It's been several months since we were near a Costco & we were happy to get those items. It was a quiet evening & our spot worked out well. We got an early start & planned on traveling to Butte but recognized Big Timber as an area our buddies John & Joyce Tyo suggested we visit if we got in the area. Larry suggested we find the campground they recommended & stop for the night to take in the local sights. And so we did :)

But I'll cover more on that next time. It is now Sunday & we are currently camped at Spring Creek Campground in Big Timber, MT. We arrived Friday & did a bit of touring. It is truly beautiful here. The Boulder River runs right through the property & it is very pretty, love it! However, it is raining, in fact all day today & part of yesterday, so even though we planned to only stay Friday evening we wound up spending 2 extra nights. We're pulling out in the morning, destination Darby, MT to visit our friends Mitch & Deb for a couple of days. Looking forward to that! And to seeing Big Hole Battlefield & the beautiful scenery along the way. Here's praying for NO rain in the morning. Night everyone :)



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