28 July 2011

Montana: Big Sky Country

 The Big Sky Country is all it's cracked up to be.  I have been back here for nearly a month, soaking up as much of Montana and my favorite Montanans as I can.  I did not anticipate as much driving as I have done this month, but it meant time in Boise with family, Libby with my new nephew, Choteau with family and friends, Missoula with friends and food, and Glacier National Park with a bear, the wind, a decadant profusion of wildflowers and mountains!

For an alternate perspective, see this "reality check" post: My Home's in Montana

Boise highlights: The World Birds of Prey Center; strolling through Boise's extensive farmers market; a tour of the Idaho State Capital building; "meeting" cousins I haven't seen since childhood (turns out we're all pretty good company, now that we've grown up); driving along churning scenic rivers swollen with the massive amounts of runoff generated by winter snowfall far above average.

Missoula highlights: Top dinner (Grilled salmon, fresh arugula salad with peas, scallions & chard, pesto quinoa); several-hour conversations about horizon-expanding books & travel mishaps; drawing and origami with my two favorite little girls; original blues music w/ crayfish and corn on the cob; micro-brewed beer; backyard chickens; rhubarb sauce on homemade waffles; thrift store sales; GOOD PEOPLE...

Montana highlights: My new nephew; my family (and "new" family); Glacier National Park; hiking up Chief Mountain (made it most of the way before blisters and afternoon thunderstorms turned us around); lounging lakeside with cousins; State Old-Time Fiddlers Competition (in Choteau this year!); bumping into people on the sidewalk who remind me why my communities have such a deep place in my heart.

All in all, it has been a wonderful visit.  Being back here clarifies for me the thing I miss most about Montana - connections.  It is the web of people, places, and awareness of community resources and potential that I miss most.  Our network in Québec is still in development, and our improving French helps with that.  This visit has motivated me to weave a new web in our new home as securely and rapidly as possible.  That web will make all the difference, I think.

So long, Montana.  Until next time!

Snake River, Idaho
Idaho State Capitol (Boise, ID)

Replica of the Nike of Samothrace - part of the "Merci Train" 
sent by France after WWII (one train car of gifts for each of the 50 states)

Dawson James Clark!

Kootenai Falls, Libby, MT 

Libby Dam (forms Lake Koocanusa, so named because 
the lake spans the USA-Canadian border, and dams the Kootenai River)

Ovando Valley, looking at the Mission Mountains
Empty lot in Missoula, DENSELY planted with pure sunshine!

Perennial snowfield, Glacier Nat'l Park

Gable Peak, GNP

Wyoming kittentails (Bessya wyomingensis)

Natural terraces on Gable Peak, Chief Mountain in background
Bronze bells, GNP
Ferns & thimble berry leaves, GNP
St. Mary Falls, GNP
Blue bells, GNP
BGM (light green figure, center right) at Virginia Falls, GNP
Snow at Logan Pass, GNP (mid-July 2011)

Cedar root "natural sculpture", GNP


Ann On and On... said...

Beautiful photos Bethann. I idea of leaving here has me a bit sad, but with a little reminder I can now look forward to where I'm going. (The "wish you were here" for J. was cute.)

Sabrina said...

Nice pics ! You are welcome anytime at home, do not hesitate ! :-)

Anonymous said...

Lovely photos. So wonderful to see you and enjoy the park together! If you find out about those natural terraces, please send me the information. :) -Sarah

KW said...

You are my favorite writer. Wish i could have seen you under the big sky, but i'm dreaming of an oh, canada visit next summer...you up for company? :)

JoeB said...

Thank you for a dose of Montana summer!

Anonymous said...

Fabulous photos and equally excellent prose. You have a real gift. Delighted you were able to join us for July 4th and enjoyed our humble town. Keep the blogs coming.

Fruit Root Leaf said...

Are you still thinking about coming this summer!?

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