We've been wanting to drive up the Nine Mile Road to visit the historic Ranger Station there. The cutoff is just before Alberton, Montana. The Station was built in 1930 after some devastating forest fires in Montana and Idaho. Mules are still trained there to go into areas too rugged for trucks. All the mules were in another pasture when we arrived, so we didn't get to see them. We did have a great visit with the workamper couple manning the Vistor Center, though, and after our time there we decided to head up a little further on the Nine Mile Road, which is not 9 miles, but over 35! We never did figure out why it's called that!
What is that critter up ahead? Is it a... no, it can't be! Yes, it is... a llama!! What on earth is a llama doing out in the wilderness on this narrow one-lane mountain road? When he saw us he trotted right up to the car.
I rolled down my window a little to see if he was friendly. He was, very! A ranger car came along and stopped, and she didn't know where the llama came from either. We began to worry about him being lost, but the ranger said she'd inquire around the area. He is obviously someone's pet, very tame, and wearing a bridle.
Keith, animal lover that he is, rolled down his window and received a llama kiss! We had triscuits, which we offered to Mr. Llama. He gobbled them down. We drove off, but worried some more about where the owners might be. Coming upon this beautiful animal was the highlight of our drive up the 35 mile long Nine Mile Road. By the way, which one do you think is the better kisser — Mr. Keith or Mr. Llama?
Here we are at the top of Siegel Pass. The sign proves how far we had to drive on the very narrow, twisting, rocky road. The signs were good, or we could easily have gotten lost at several crossroads. What a great day!