Butte, Montana is known for a few things: having cold winters (-30 on occasion), being a bit rough-and-tumble (it IS Evel Knievel's birthplace), and being friendly. But there are usually two things people remember about Butte once they've been here.
The Pit (one of the largest open-pit mines in the U.S., now filled with mine water) and The Lady.
Our Lady of the Rockies stands high above Butte, on the Continental Divide. She's 90 feet tall and she can be seen from anywhere in town, watching over--or blessing--us.
The Lady began as a promise from a regular guy: his wife was ill with cancer and he promised Mary that if she recovered he'd build a statue in her honor. He didn't quite imagine it would turn out to be quite so big, or be at the top of the mountain, but that's what happened. His wife DID recover, and with a lot of help he pulled it off.
The statue has now become a memorial, the inside filled with rosary beads, pictures of loved ones, and notes pinned all over the walls.
But it's also a cool place to visit just to see all of Butte and the surrounding mountains from 7,500 ft--and to see what a little determination--combined with hard work--can do.
So I was pleased that Victoria's visit was timed perfectly for a trip up the mountain. We *might* have talked over the bus driver's tour just a wee bit all the way up, but once we were up there it was a great place to hang out and soak in some inspiration.
If you ever come by my neighborhood, I'll take you up to the Lady too!