It was a day when "livin' the good life" had real meaning. The sky was blue after days of gray and wind and there were a lot of cars sitting in various spaces throughout the Park. Hiking and running were where it was at. I was out walking, heading north on Radio Hill road toward the amphitheater. Before I knew it I was at Eyeful Vista. When I got to the amphitheater I stopped and checked my pedometer. Yikes! I had walked 2.54 miles. My limit is usually 3 miles but in the spirit of the day I had stepped a bit beyond. Heading back to the car I cut across country and discovered the Ponderosa Trail which was new to me. It took me to the intersection of the trail to McCarty's cabin where I hit the main road and went on from there.
Without showing my age I can remember when a large portion of the Park was BLM land, wide open spaces with a gravel road connecting. When the teachers would have their yearly picnics in the park we kids (my dad was a teacher) were down in the gullies and up over the hills. I remember one spot over the hill from where we usually picnicked that had a little puddle of water and wild roses growing around in the mud. Family picnics, scout events, church worship services and a drive to the end of the park on the road to the Archery Range and Lions' Youth camp were all real adventures.
I took my oldest nephew on one of Doc Hiatt's last classes about the Park. He showed us fossils and rock formations and a whole range of geologic features. Doc had more energy than any of us and was up and down the coulees like a mountain goat. He had spent 35 years roaming the hills and the gullies and exploring this wonderful spot.
It is really great to see how locals love the park and how it is becoming a destination site for many other people thanks to Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks. Of course those of us who live here are the fortunate ones.