Mountain men are an interesting part of Montana’s history, and near Red Lodge one of the early pioneers whose name is still etched on the landscape is Edward Earl Van Dyke, also known as E.E. Van Dyke. He came to the state as a teenager looking to fight Indians. Instead, he ended up in Cooke City in the 1870s as miners tried to scratch a living from the steep, rocky soil. E.E.’s main claim to fame in the area is that he and his father marked the first route from Cooke City to Red Lodge over the top of the Beartooth Mountains in 1883.
It runs close to where folks now drive up and over the high plateau on the Beartooth Scenic Byway, Highway 212. E.E. went on to become a local hunting and tourist guide, helped guide the survey crew marking the reduced boundaries of the Crow Reservation, and eventually got into the oil business. Like many men of his time, he was a jack of all trades. And like many of his time, he also had a notorious past. E.E. was busted for poaching in Yellowstone National Park and his exploits, as well as a few others, eventually prompted Congress to enact stiffer punishments for park poachers.
Read more here: http://billingsgazette.com/lifestyles/recreation/the-exploits-of-beartooth-mountain-man-e-e-van-dyke/article_820df7b8-383f-584d-9898-66d22d22ccea.html
(Written by Brett French – Outdoors Editor for the Billings Gazette; Photo: Brett French)
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