He went underground, went to Lydia’s, passed on Muzz and Stan’s because it was overexposed (who knew?). He liked the Silver Dollar Saloon and engaged Amanda Curtis there in some repartee. He went to Fred’s Mesquite Grill and then walked around Uptown, a rail-thin, gray-haired guy in a gray hoodie and jeans, at the behest of his ever-demanding camera crew. (“I’m supposed to have a significant look on my face, correct?” he cracked as he began to stroll and the crew went to work.)

He stopped and gazed at the Uptown buildings, the Highlands, clouds resting heavily over the East Ridge, and a mountainside scraped bare for the copper it held. “It’s not pretty,” he said, “but it’s deeply beautiful.”

For Bourdain, it was another day in the 220 or so he spends on the job all over the world every year, bringing his quirky and often bleeped humor and a great no-B.S. take on food to an immense and frankly adoring audience.

It was just one part of an episode of his hugely successful CNN show “Parts Unknown” that was shot in a week at locations sprinkled under the Big Sky — the Crow Reservation, Butte, Lewistown, Livingston. And a certain stream on a certain ranch where I suggested he might go.

I didn’t share the location lightly — it’s literally my favorite place on earth — but I thought it would be fun to take him there. It was. Sort of.

Birch Creek Ranch is somewhere north of 100,000 acres of central Montana — part of it in the Big Belts west of White Sulphur Springs, part of it in the Little Belts east of Cascade. I worked a year there as a hand for rancher Bill Galt in order to write a book which ended up being “The Cowboy Way: Seasons of a Montana Ranch” (Avon Books, 1999).

“Well, you were on the payroll for a year,” Galt corrects. “I wouldn’t exactly say you worked.”

I would.