The Lookout
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Monday, July 20, 2015 - 11:24am David Tucker

A look at recreation's gateway drug.

The Sunday before July 4, we stocked the cooler, packed up the gear box, loaded up the car, and headed out of town. We had a plan, and we thought it was a good one—camp our way to an Independence Day celebration with the family. Camping over the holidays seems like a good idea on paper, but the reality is often nightmarish. Crowded campgrounds, noisy children, road-clogging RVs, and overrun trails. Because it's such a good idea, everyone seems to have it. We thought we'd avoid the crowds by staying off the beaten path, visiting lesser-known national parks and out-of-the-way forests. While the extra work paid off in spades, quiet campgrounds weren't the only joy we experienced; somewhere along the way, right around the time we'd perfected steaks in a cast-iron pan, we reconnected to the roots of outdoor recreation: camping.

Camping Montanta

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015 - 12:34pm Johnny Certo

White Sulphur's outdoor music fest.

I can't really grow a beard – not a manly one, anyway. So, until I can proudly display a full set of whiskers, I'll continue to be impressed by the group of men I saw at the Red Ants Pants Music Festival. It was a hot July day in White Sulphur Springs, and the crowd was getting antsy. The prizes for the Montana State Beard & Moustache Competition were about to be handed out. The votes had been tallied for four categories: moustache, freestyle, partial beard, and full beard. At last the announcer emerged, sporting a vibrant red mane. He called the moustache group to the stage. I shook my head and smiled... only in Montana.

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Thursday, June 25, 2015 - 2:37pm Caroline Miller

Skiing a Bridger Range classic on the summer solstice.

“Caroline? Caroline?! It’s 4:15 – time to go.” I heard him but couldn't quite make sense of what he was saying. The blanket of stars that had lulled me to sleep on the banks of Fairy Lake were fading, and I forced myself from the warmth of my sleeping bag and went to wake the others. “Want to catch the sunrise, girl?” I said to a friend.  “Hell no,” she shot back, rolling over. After a little coercion, three more in the group of seven gathered their things and headed out of camp. As we left the lake, a friend grabbed my arm.  “It looks sketchy, Caroline, don’t be stupid up there.” Worst-case scenario, it’s a sweet sunrise hike with a little training weight, I figured.

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Thursday, June 18, 2015 - 2:18pm David Tucker

Fishing advice for beginners, part I.

Learning to fly fish in Montana is as intimidating as asking a girl to dance at your 6th-grade mixer. Most likely, at first pass, you’ll be met with shame, embarrassment, and even bodily injury. But there’s also the possibility, however remote, of success. That slim margin for success is what brought me to a mountain stream on a recent June day to try my hand at the most Montanan of outdoor pursuits: tricking a fish into eating a fake bug. Here’s what I learned.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015 - 3:46pm Kevin Kennedy

2015's Gallatin Whitewater Festival.

If I’ve learned anything about river festivals, it's never to miss one. Our Gallatin Whitewater Festival is no exception. Since 1978, the north-flowing Gallatin has inspired celebrations by river enthusiasts and whitewater lovers. Although the Gallatin Valley recently went several years without a festival, Dave Zinn of the Wave Train Kayak Team partnered with the Gallatin National Forest to bring the festival back in 2013.

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Friday, June 5, 2015 - 12:54pm David Schroeder

Whitewater misadventures.

For the third lap down my favorite watering hole, I opted for some bigger lines to put the finishing touch on a fine day of paddling. The Quake Lake section of the Madison was running a juicy 1,200 cfs and the icy waters were bolstering the strength of the ample hydraulics. 

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Thursday, June 4, 2015 - 2:37pm Jenny Sheets

Exploring Montana’s small towns.

For over 200 years, explorers, dreamers, and entrepreneurs have been drawn to the serenity of Montana and its promise of adventure. As they settled, they longed for the amenities and support of a community, and eventually founded towns on hillsides, along rivers, and in valleys. As resources dwindled and dreams faded, communities shrank. In their wake, they left behind skeletal remains that can still be explored today. This summer, pack up the car with tents, sleeping bags, bikes, boats, and fishing rods and head off in the spirit of the Treasure State's founders. Here are some destinations to check out. 

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Monday, May 18, 2015 - 4:22pm Dana Benner

An Easterner’s drive along the Beartooth Scenic Byway.

How does one describe Hwy. 212, commonly called the Beartooth Scenic Byway? Travel magazines use superlatives like “amazing,” “magnificent,” and “a must-drive,” and while they all apply, the byway is much more than that and something different for everyone. This was my experience.

 Beartooth Highway

Summer in Cody, Wyoming: I had ten days to get a laundry-list of stories researched and put to bed, but many of the locals kept asking me, “Have you driven the Beartooth?” After about the tenth time, I decided to see what the fuss was all about.

Leaving early in the morning, my goal was to drive the Beartooth Highway out of Red Lodge and follow it to the junction with Chief Joseph Scenic Highway in Wyoming, and then take that back to Cody. Once on Hwy. 212, I didn’t really know what to expect, but how bad could it be? Growing up in New Hampshire, driving mountain roads was nothing new to me, and after all, we have Mount Washington. I soon found out that I wasn’t in New Hampshire anymore.

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Monday, May 11, 2015 - 11:06am Chris McCarthy

Lessons from a Bridger Ridge Run veteran.

Until recently, I despised the notion of running. It was merely a means to stay somewhat healthy, or penance for a weekend of overindulging. Nevertheless, I set goals, trained, and started running 5k and 10k races—begrudgingly.

This all shifted with trail running. Initially, I mixed trail runs with road training as a change of pace. Eventually, though, trail distances increased and I grew stronger. Once I started running 10ks and half-marathons, I was hooked.

As I started running longer distances, my mind wandered to the Bridger Ridge Run, so last May I put my name into the lottery. I don’t know if it was my compelling essay or simply luck of the draw, but I was one of the fortunate people picked to join the 30th anniversary run. And then it sank in: 19.65 miles and 6,800 feet of elevation gain. What was I thinking?

Bridger Ridge run, Bridge Ridge, trail running, distance running
This terrain is not for the faint of heart.

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Friday, May 1, 2015 - 4:56pm Johnny Certo

Hiking with total strangers. 

I felt silly typing “Bozeman Hiking Groups” into the search bar. Is this necessary, or am I overthinking my dilemma? Do I even have a dilemma? Before answering any of these questions, I punched the return key.

Recently, I'd become frustrated with my friends' lack of hiking enthusiasm. Every time I wanted to go, they had an excuse, so I sought the next best thing, and after five minutes of perusing a few sites, I joined the Bozeman Adventure Club. I'd never done anything like this before so I was bit nervous. I felt as though I'd be labeled a newcomer and suffer a cruel initiation ritual. But I swallowed my pride and signed up for the next scheduled activity: a hike up Triple Tree.

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