Between the purple majesty of the 5 stunning mountain ranges that crawl across it, to the golden prairies and glacial streams that decorate it, it’s easy to fall in love with this beautiful state. Montana is sprinkled with incredible wildlife, outdoors, and people. Although, it can be overwhelming trying to find a place to start your adventure. I know one city in Montana particularly well, because I was born and raised there. Allow me to tell you a little bit about my hometown, Missoula.
Even being born in Missoula, I sometimes take for granted how this beautiful and diverse landscape raised me. From hot springs to rock climbing, kayaking and hiking, endless adventures awaited. Reflective of the vibrant environment, the culture glows in its own light. Not only do hang gliders decorate the sky on clear Saturday mornings, art fairs and farmers markets blanket the cobblestone of the downtown area. Live music rings out against the homes and buildings as mountain bikers and roller-skaters, artists and business owners alike enjoy the bright blue skies above them. It’s important to respect the many cultures and species that inhabit Montana, so make sure to do your research on best practices and ask lots of questions before entering the wild. You’ll find helpful and insightful folks all over.
Transitioning from the many summer sports, i.e. surfing, frisbee, floating, boating, etc. tastes bittersweet. Now we look forward to skiing, cross country and fast down the slopes of Snowbowl, as well as the spirited Griz football season. The light and airy Downtown First Fridays of the summer put on a sweater and sip cider in the art galleries.
Autumn in Montana is my favorite season, second only to spring. I adore how the leaves explode from emerald to sunburst, and cover the sidewalks of the University area. When I would walk to school alongside carefully cobwebbed porches and jackolantern residencies, the sun would rise over the ‘M’. To this day I believe breathing in a Montana autumn has got to be one of the most fulfilling feelings in the world. The air is sweet, warm in color, but cool to the touch. Offering the more quiet serenities slightly outside of the city, or the vibrant culture in the heart of Downtown, Missoula offers the best of both worlds.
When I was a kid, my dad would say, “if you don’t like the weather in Montana, step inside for 5 minutes.” Now I see how this applies to this gem of a city and state in a broader sense. Every season is full to the brim with ways to enjoy yourself here. However, if you’re desperate to begin, and have some time to explore this fall, Missoula just might be the place to start finding Montana.
By Kathleen Clark