A Jesuit mission in Montana

Trip Start Jun 15, 2013
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
St. Mary KOA

Flag of United States  , Montana
Friday, August 23, 2013

'St. Ignatius Mission is located on the Flathead Indian Reservation in western Montana, about forty miles north of Missoula.  It is beautifully situated in the Mission Valley, bounded by the Mission Mountains to the east and the hills of the National Bison Range to the west.
The Mission, and the town that grew up around it, was founded in 1854 by Jesuit missionaries and named for their founder, St. Ignatius Loyola.  In the following years it was the home of the first Jesuit theologate and industrial arts school in the Northwest, the first Catholic Sisters and Catholic school in Montana, and the first hospital, sawmill, flour mill, printing press, carpenter shop and blacksmith shop in the Mission Valley.
Today there remains only the Mission church, built in 1891 and now a National Historic Site, and two small cabins, the original homes of the Jesuit Fathers and the Providence Sisters.  Though the physical remains may be few, there is a lasting heritage which has continued and will continue through the years.'   
The above quote is taken from a booklet 'St. Ignatius Mission .  National Historic Site', which can be obtained at the church with a donation of $5.  Who would have imagined such a magnificent church on Indian territory in Montana?  It's like walking into a cathedral in Europe.  I'm glad Tanzy directed my attention to it.  It's just off MT-93 when you drive north from Missoula in the direction of Flathead Lake which I did on Tuesday.  I decided to spend the night at the lake (at a campground called Yellow Bay).  My tent was right next to a creek where I could cool my wine.  I also went swimming in the lake.  The next day, Wednesday, I proceeded north into Glacier National Park (the official name is actually 'Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park World Heritage Site').  I camped at Avalanche Creek and went on a two-mile hike (two miles out, two miles back, app. one hour each way) to Avalanche Lake.  The lake is sourrounded by mountains with waterfalls fed by Sperry Glacier.  The sun was shining, and it was a gorgeous place.  
Yesterday I went on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, the only paved road in the park, which connects the West Entrance and St. Mary to the East.  It was another fantastic drive which takes you up to Logan Pass with a perfect view all around.  I had wanted to camp at 'Rising Sun' but it was full when I arrived in the late afternoon, so I went just outside the park and camped at the St. Mary KOA, also beautifully located.  They offered chicken BBQ for dinner which suited me fine after a couple of days eating out of a can.  In a few moments I will head west along Hwy-2.  Tanzy also recommended the Ross Creek Giant Cedars right next to the Idaho stateline.  There are some National Forest campgrounds in the area, so I will probably end up there tonight.    
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Denise Strom on

You take some awesome picture Jens......thank you for showing all of us the beauty this great Nation has to offer. Many of kind will never get to see it. If your headed west, you might want to stop in Virigina City, NV. There's a number of museums about the mining of Silver and the historical Catholic church St Mary's of the Mountain".....Virgina City is just east of Carson City, NV on the map. Thanks again for your many tours. Loved the bear shot. I think I saw it.

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