Montana’s Ocean View

The National Weather Service’s winter storm warning for today reminded me of some research I did a while back about Montana’s tropical past. So, brew a cup of something warm, plan a cross-country ski trip for this weekend, and imagine yourself on Montana’s tropical beaches. Or, you know, get back to work, whichever you prefer. … Read more

A Camel Runs Through It

Take a moment and picture Virginia City’s main street in July of 1865. It’s the height of the gold rush, so quite a few people wander around, doing their Saturday shopping. Horses wait patiently at hitching posts. Perhaps a few wagons or mule trains unload their goods. Although too early in the day for much … Read more

The Sheep and the Queen

Montana loves royalty. Other people’s royalty. It goes without saying that Montanan’s would not respond well to a monarch trying to rule us, but visiting us? That we enjoy. The town of Silver Star boasts that Prince Edward (later, Edward VII) spent three nights in the Silver Star Hotel in 1878 (frankly, I’ve been hard … Read more

Take a Ramble through Ivan Doig’s Work Song

No trip is complete without a book or two-meticulously researched and preferably adventurous-to give a sense of wherever you visit. If you’re visiting Butte, then Ivan Doig’s Work Song fits the ticket. If the polar vortex has you feeling like you never want to leave your house again, well, Work Song can entertain you there … Read more

Ice Age Sculptures

Around 140,000 years ago, glaciers flowed south, carving out the valleys around Ovando, in northern SouthWest Montana. As the Bull Lake Ice Age ended, the glaciers retreated from the area. During the Pinedale Ice Age, between 60,000 and 15,000 years ago, ice covered the region once again. Glaciers again moved into the Ovando/Helmville area, carrying … Read more

The Weather Outside is Delightful!

I don’t care what the astronomers say, winter is in full swing. And with Christmas just around the corner, I hope you find yourself with some free time. If you do, I hope you get the most out of all the activities that Southwest Montana has to offer. Winter Sports—It is cold, snowy and windy, … Read more

Christmastime in Montana

“Friday, December 25, 1857: Christmas is past and gone. -The day passed off quietly and very pleasantly. Mr. Chase and Mr. Harris got up a Very Nice Egg Nog in the Morning and, as for dinner, few in a More civilized World can boast of a better one.” Charles Russell, Christmas at the Line Camp, … Read more

Don’t GET LOST in Montana!

The fact that the freezer is full of leftover turkey soup can only mean one thing: Thanksgiving has come and gone. Christmas is just around the corner, and you still don’t have a gift for the person on your list who loves to get lost on the backroads of Montana. Don’t worry, this isn’t a … Read more

Every Bird Will Have His Day | Reminiscing this Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

The real question this holiday season is: will grandma cook opossum for Thanksgiving this year? While Opossum may not be on many Montana menus this Thanksgiving season, a century ago serving opossum seems to indicate the height of class. While browsing Chronicling America’s database of Montana newspapers, I came across a page from the Thursday, … Read more

Brother Van

No doubt many people are getting ready for long trips to visit relatives this Thanksgiving, so here’s a story about Brother Van, one of Montana’s most famous travelers. As an itinerant Methodist preacher during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, William Wesley Van Orsdel probably logged more miles crisscrossing the state than anyone else in history. … Read more