Sunday, July 1, 2012

Don't Come To Montana...

Nature is the pinnacle of beauty in my mind.  Mountains, streams, morning dew, the handsome elk with a full rack and every other animal combine to create the one thing that fills me with awe.  In most places, humans have settled, divided the landscape, and have built buildings and fences, in the process destroying most of the beauty of nature.  The real jungle is replaced with a concrete jungle.

Montana is sometimes called the last best place because most of nature has been left untouched.  Part of this is due to the nature of the terrain: it is near impossible to build roads through all of the mountains, and some parts are nearly inhospitable plains with extremely harsh winters.  The other part of this equation is the simple fact that almost no one knows about this wonderful state.  Thank goodness.  One of my friends from Michigan just came to visit and her coworkers were very curious as to what in the heck she was going to do in Montana.  Awesome.

People do not know what is here.  What do you know about Montana?  Everyone goes to Colorado or Utah for good skiing.  Colorado is fantastic for fly fishing and climbing peaks.  New Hampshire is great for white water rafting.  Nebraska raises good beef.  For most people, Montana is a bit of a void in their knowledge of the states, "It...um...has cowboys maybe?"

Naturally, the state is running a tourism campaign advertising the fact that it is undiscovered, untouched, and untamed.  Well thanks for blowing it.  The state is already growing-oil in the eastern part, tourism and second homes in the western, more scenic part-and does not need any help in my opinion.  People say today's Montana is like Colorado 30 years ago.  Here we go.

Well all I can say is do not come to Montana.  There is nothing fun to do here.  The days of the cowboy are gone, there are hardly any people, and it is so cold it can frost year round.  There are meth problems in the cities, no television where I live (gasp!) and the nearest gas station is a very inconvenient 30 minutes away.  Deadly animals roam the hills: grizzly bears, black bears, moose, mountain lions, and rattlesnakes.  Sounds pretty bad, eh?  Stay away please.

Picture of me not having fun in Montana

Visitors

After a month long hiatus, I finally have found some free time to 1) get out and have some adventures, and 2) write about them.  And, I have had friends from Michigan to share my adventures with!

First of all, two weeks ago my high school buddies Kevin, Keenan, and Josh stopped by the ranch on their way to Alaska.  They graduated from college then dropped their jobs to explore the country in a VW van.


We did some camping, practiced a little fly fishing, and then I took them on an 18 mile hike to explore Crystal Caves, a small set of caverns that go back about 30 yards underground with a waterfall running down through them.  Super neat.





Last week, my good friend Jill, another high school buddy, came with two of her accounting friends from Grand Rapids.  We did a hike on the ranch, hung out at Chico, and hiked Ramshorn peak.  Good stuff.