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Pompey's Pillar and Bozeman, MT -- Road Trip Day 9


From Theodore Roosevelt NP we were then headed towards Bozeman, MT on our roadtrip from PA to WA. We didn't have anything planned in Bozeman, just to relax in civilization for a night. We decided to do a quick detour right off of I-94 to Pompey's Pillar on the way there. I never heard of it prior to our trip. I literally only found out about it using the Roadtrippers app. I was looking for any sites managed by the National Park Service. This was close enough. It's a National Monument, managed by the Bureau of Land Management. I figured it was something to do, and a good way to stretch our legs on a long drive and maybe see some cool sights. And...since it's managed by BLM, our America The Beautiful Pass covered our entry! Win!

Rest Stop In Montana
I have to say...Montana has some of the nicest Rest Stops I've been to. Scenic, even. I have the bladder the size of a pea so we're always stopping to pee. Look at these views from just a random rest stop. Amazing! This was on the way to Bozeman before Pompey's Pillar.

During our quick trip to the site we enjoyed the views from the ground. You can climb up a million steps to the top, but not with dogs you can't! The mosquitos and other bugs here were absolutely insane too. There were literally signs at the entrance telling you to bring bug spray. I believe the ranger at the entrance gate told us too. Well. We put spray on, but it was NOT effective. I think it was some crappy "natural" spray with oregano oil or whatever. Nahhh dude, you need the industrial stuff for rural Montana.

Not the greatest way of figuring that out. By the time we got back to the car I needed twelve arms to properly scratch the itch all over my body. Lesson learned I guess!

What is Pompeys Pillar?

Pompey's Pillar is a 120 foot tall sandstone rock, almost pillar like, situated near the Yellowstone River, and an important part of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. It's proximity to the Yellowstone River, is what caught my eye the most. There's a few small trails at the site, one of which loops you around to see the views of the river, which we of course did. 

The site is important because of its history. It is one of the last remaining, or only remaining pieces of physical evidence of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Clark literally carved up the rock and wrote this name and date in the rock. It's still there, and National Monument site encased it to preserve it.

The Yellowstone River at Pompey's PIllar
There's a trail that takes you out to the Yellowstone River!


As far as the name Pompey goes, you have to trust that the people back in the 1800's had their best interest at heart. It is actually named for Sacagawea's son, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, both of whom were on the expedition. Clark, appreciating the guiding efforts of Sacagawea on the expedition, named the rock after her son, who Clark nicknamed "Pomp". Little Pompey. Thus Pompey's Pillar. Cool right? Sure.


Yellowstone River from Pompey
More river views!

Is Pompey's Pillar worth going out of your way for? No, not entirely. It depends on your reasons and wants for visiting. The sights are cool, if not limited. The history is definitely there. There IS apparently a cancellation stamp in the area, which me missed. It is isn't specifically for Pompey's Pillar National Monument but there evidently is...somewhere...which we missed...a Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Pompey's Pillar location cancellation stamp. 

Is Pompey's Pillar worth stopping off of I-94 in the middle of nowhere to stretch your legs and get a little walking in with some cool sights and history? Yeah definitely. Just please for the love of God bring DEET. And lots of it.

Pompey's Pillar
There's Pompey's Pillar! It was a beautiful day out.


Bozeman, Montana

It's not a big area...but it certainly was cool to see! We headed to Bozeman where we were finally able to load up on more human AND dog food, drinks., etc. We really wanted to visit the brewery Mountains Walking. I've had beers from them before in Pennsylvania using a beer delivery service called Tavour, so I wanted to try them from the source. 

Unfortunately, they didn't allow dogs on the premises, which is wild to me. Mind blowing. Someone brought their dog and just tied it up outside of the brewery... I certainly would not have done that. We simply got some beer and food to go from there and headed to our hotel for the night. 

Mountains Walking Double Grazing Clouds
Me and my double Grazing Clouds DIPA from Mountains Walking in the hotel and not at the brewery :(

Interestingly, Bozeman was the first area we noticed the visual presence of un-housed individuals. This is because Montana is the first state that we drove into that belongs to the Ninth Circuit of Court of Appeals. The Ninth circuit ruled that if someone does not have a place to stay, it is unconstitutional to make laws making public sleeping illegal. 

This can be seen throughout the Ninth Circuit's coverage, including Montana itself, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, and Arizona (as far as contiguous US goes).   Personally, I consider this ruling a win. If someone is homeless and has nowhere to stay, how is it helpful to make it illegal for them to...have nowhere to stay? But that's enough from me, this isn't a politics blog.

Be sure to check out Road Trip Day 10 where we head towards Glacier National Park in Montana, but on our way we stop at Flathead Lake for the evening!


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