Some significant dead time between practice sessions for Seth and his buddy resulted in a quick tour of historical downtown Butte, a town about which I’ve written in the past as it is also home to a local mountain bike ultra endurance race, the Butte 100.Knowing we’d have from one to four to find something to do, I had also brought along two rods for hitting the Clark Fork or the local warm springs ponds; however, the two boys nixed that idea in favor of wandering around. So, the first stop was the library (to their unexpected chagrin). This , of course, meant some computer time, so it was not all bad.Reading the story of “wealthy mining pioneer” Finlan (above hotel photo), and the glut of copper that occurred following WWI, had me thinking a bit about the present day excess of supply in global markets given the not too distant surge in demand and increase in capacity. The classic economic circle, which in commodities has always been magnified, this time by emerging economies.
Jack Ferriter’s Pin and Ink “Miner – Open Edition Print” got my attention as we strolled down one of the main thoroughfares. His work, which I photoed through a window, captures the miner well. This brought back a visualization of past memories of West Virginia, driving through mining areas to fish along the Upper Elk and other streams. Extractive states, both Montana and West Virginia. There are other parallels as well, both also being beautiful outdoor recreation areas – my reason for having chosen to live in Montana.
We did not take the time to visit the Berkeley Pit, though the above photo was right next door. The mine is still busy with large trucks driving their loads of sediment to a site somewhere to dump. The tires on these trucks are larger than most vehicles and, according to a friend in the industry, can go for almost a half a million dollars apiece when scarce during good times.
There was a festival of some sort occurring where the local pastime of beer drinking was occurring. It seemed a little early for October Fest, but there were signs in the area and we weren’t sure if this was not Butte’s way of getting a head start. Great old town, Butte.