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John Denver is a bit of a hero of ours. Right up to the end when he nose-dived the experimental light aircraft into the Pacific. We believe that at the moment he was humming the tune to one of his timeless melodies. Was it “Country Road,” “Annie’s Song,” “Rocky Mountain High,” “I’m Sorry (For the Way Things Are in China)?” Well, we have driven all this way to pull inspiration from the very same hills and peaks that fueled his epic career. And it’s working. This is the land of no unpleasant vistas. In Los Angeles we consume quantities of mental energy blotting out a landscape of urban greed and low ethics, near hostility to the notion of creating beauty. Out here mother nature rules, and human detritus barely marks the hills, valleys, crests, and rumbling distant peaks.

An hour’s drive from Bozeman through rainshadows and rainbows on aforementioned valleys and peaks brought us to a gem of human detritus, Virginia City, Montana, once the capital of this blessed state after the biggest gold boom in America, before a second gold rush somewhere else stole the capitalship away. The town is as if frozen in time, with a pristine 1876 courthouse and beautifully preserved old wood frame houses lining the highway and climbing the dirt road hills. —–