At the end of a year of hot sun, great surf, huge bugs, street tacos and mariachi bands, it was time to be reunited with vertical, alpine terrain and snow (glorious snow!). After months of research and heehawing, we finally settled on Bozeman, Montana for its proximity to amazing skiing (Big Sky and Bridger Bowl), the free-thinking mentality that accompanies most state universities, and general accessibility. Though my piecemeal assortment of education related part-time jobs here is making me feel a little scattered, I couldn’t be happier with our choice of location.
Here are some things I’ve learned about Montana so far:
- There are no strangers.
Anywhere you go here, people talk to you as though you were their next-door neighbor. In the grocery store, a woman commented on how the contents of my basket inspired her to buy zucchini, too, and then proceeded to make small-talk with me as we happened to follow converging loops through the aisles.
More recently, at the grassland disc golf course near our house, the pair playing behind us soon caught up to us and joined right in on our search for a lost disk among the knee-high, swampland grass (worst environment to build a disc golf course, ever). They searched as though it was their frisbee that was lost and eventually found it for us ten yards from the area we had been scouring.
- People have time for you.
On several occasions, cars have stopped and allowed us to cross the street without even a cross-walk. On one such occasion, a woman stopped for us and then waited at least five minutes for the rest of the passing traffic to follow suit. I certainly would have given up and driven on at that point.
- You don’t have to drive longer than twenty minutes to experience the wonders of nature.
Here we are surrounded by mountains and canyons that seem to have endless options for hiking, biking, boating or camping. Whatever flavor of outdoor adventure you desire, the only things standing between you are a few miles and the right gear.
- Montana is where rednecks and outdoor enthusiasts converge.
It never occurred to me before how much these groups have in common but now that I’m here, it seems pretty obvious. Rednecks love huntin’, dirt bikin’, and beer. Outdoorsy folks love camping, mountain biking, and beer. Later reports will detail if and how these groups conflict but current observations indicate peaceful, if sometimes only semi-tolerant coexistence.
On the whole, I’m pleased and impressed with what Montana has to offer and the snow hasn’t even come yet! I hope that time will reveal still greater wonders as snow opens up the world of winter.