Saturday, February 16, 2013

Winter 2012-13 - Oh, How Montana Has Changed...

Every day, shortly after noon, I shut down the computer...load my three dogs into the Suburban...and get out for a couple of hours.  Some days we head over to a mountain recreation area on the Southwest edge of Missoula to hike a closed Forest Service road...or head down along the West side of the Clark Fork River to where an old bridge used to cross...or maybe to the private shooting range I use to get in a little hiking and some target shooting.  No matter where we go, we very seldom drive more than 12-14 miles from home.

This spot is one of our favorites in winter.  What's really great about the area is that it is all public land...and it is just 5 1/2 miles from home.  Depending on the weather, and the work load waiting for me at home, we can get in a 30-minute hour walk...or an hour and a half hike.  A number of trails allows the dogs to cover a lot of territory, and they easily get in 2 to 3 times the distance I cover, and when we get back home they expect a dog biscuit...then a nice long nap.

For me, a brisk walk on a cool 30-degree afternoon gets the juices flowing again, and no matter what I had been working on before the daily outing, I come back more than ready to jump right back into the project.  Often, that walk gives me an opportunity to ponder whatever I'm writing or constructing on the internet, and I dive right back in with some fresh new thoughts.

Home is actually about half-way between where Bob is enjoying a bit of a January wade and the high ground seen in the background.  As wild as the country may appear here...a city of 70,000 people lies just a couple of miles out of sight behind those trees.

One of my 2013 resolutions has been to make much greater use of this blog.  Since posting on here last year, I've taken my photography digital - and will be sharing a lot of Montana scenic shots, such as that of the early evening walk shown here, which reminds me of Robert Frost's "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening".

Montana has changed a great deal in just the 5 1/2 years that I've been here, and not all for the better.  There has been and remains those who were attracted to Montana for what it has been, a wild and beautiful place - and since moving here they have worked hard to make it more like wherever they came from.  The clash between those who love the country and the lifestyle just the way it has been, and those now pushing for change will escalate.  Some hard battles lie ahead, and these will become topics on this blog.

Our goal is to make two or three new posts here drop back from time to time to see what's happening in Montana - no matter if you still consider it the "Treasure State"...or "Big Sky Country". - Toby Bridges, Montana Mountain Chronicle

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