Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Missing Montana

It is May, and that means there is less than 25 days until I move to California!  I am extremely excited to be moving back to California.  For the reasons that, I will back in one of the most beautiful places in the world, I can go to the beach, I can go boogie boarding, and most importantly I will have my family and friends around.
That being said, there are some things that I will miss about living in Montana.

The first thing I will miss is the ease of which you can access the wilderness.  I am not talking about just a hike on a trail through the woods!  I am talking about the wilderness, parts of the land that still seem untouched by humans.  The outdoors are pretty spectacular here in Montana.

Walks in the woods are even better when you can go out with friends!

Now, this ease of access to the wilderness is wonderful, and it can be scary too!  On the first hike Chris and I went on, we came across a bear.  We were just walking along and all of the sudden there was a black bear about 15 feet away from us standing on hits hind legs.  Luckily, it looked at us and ran away!  While watching him eat, we found that there was actually two bears enjoying lunch.  

This is the first bear we came across AFTER it ran away from us.

Of course, there is also other, not scary, wild life around.

There is not many times that Chris and I went out without seeing deer.  I have many pictures like this.  Seriously, the deer is always in the same stance and the surroundings change.

Another thing I will miss is the random road trips and not knowing where they will lead.  I grew up on the Central Coast of California, so I would have to travel pretty far away before the roads were unrecognizable.  That all changed once we moved here.  It was great to just get in the car and drive with no particular destination. I felt like Lewis and Clark!

Last summer during one of these random adventures, we came across a sign for the Lewis and Clark Caverns and had to check it out.  We followed the signs and found the state park, and found out that you can take tours of the caverns.  We arrived just in time for that last tour!
The first thing you learn is that Lewis and Clark never came close to these caverns, so I don't know why they call it the Lewis and Clark cavern.

It was beautiful inside! Well worth the $10/person for the tour.  There is a short hike the the entrance, and I would definitely recommend a light jacket because it can get chilly inside.  While exploring the caverns, there is some stooping, crawling and sliding that has to be done, but the spaces never get too cramped.  If you are ever in the area,  I highly recommend a stopping here.

Another adventure to take is driving Pintler Loop, if you are driving between Missoula and Butte.  It is a two lane highway that will take you past glorious sites.  The great part is that the actual drive does not take any longer than if you were to just take the boring four lane highway 90.

Chris and I had the pleasure of driving Pintler Loop a couple times during different seasons.

The first time was at the end of April in 2011.  That was a long winter here in Montana, so it was still cold and of course the snow had not melted.

Picnic anyone?

The next time we took the drive it was at the end of July 2011, and happened to be one of the nicest days!  Not too hot and of course the big beautiful Montana sky!

This is the same area as the picture above, but as you can see, all of the snow melted and you can actually see the magnificent Georgetown Lake.  It is also possible to now have a picnic!

One of my favorite experiences was during the Christmas season.  I got to go out into the woods with my good friend Steve, and cut down our own Christmas tree!  You have to buy permit (a whole $5) and there are certain areas that you cannot remove trees from, but it is pretty easy to find an area on the map to go. 

It was such a great experience!  I don't think anything can compare to being able to go into the woods to find the perfect Christmas tree during my first white winter.  

Chris, Steve and I also had a wonderful time on a night hike on the old train tracks just outside of Butte.  

It was pretty awesome being out here in the dark.  The only time we I had to use my headlamp was walking through the two, old tunnels...they freaked me out!!!

The thing I will miss the most about living in Montana is Missoula, my home away from home!

I will miss riding my bike down the bike-way to downtown, the University of Montana, the Missoula Osprey baseball field, and down South St to the river to raft.

The cold water of the river feels so good after a 6 mile bike ride in triple digit temperatures!

Jixer and I always enjoy a little trip to downtown, and always stop by the Clark Fork river so he can sniff around.

Not many things can compare to a Sunday afternoon baseball game.  As Chris would say, "Hold up your 'K' card!!!"

Montana has forever changed my life!  If I did not move here, I would not have Oswald or Jixer, and Chris would not have the project he is working on in Canada which is an amazing opportunity.  We came here for school, and left with so much more!

~Best Wishes~

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