Spring 2014

Features

  • Wildlife Wingman

    Pilot Roger Stradley tracks from the air.It’s 6:15 on a cool, clear morning in May and I’m waiting for my ride at the Gardiner airport—a term I use loosely, as it’s no bigger than a strip of flypaper, with a few timeworn…
  • Bearly Got Away

    There's no bear like your first bear.No North American critter excites the imagination quite like a bear. Elk are cool, as are eagles, cougars, and moose. But bears establish a psychological foothold practically from birth…
  • High Water

    Time to seize the seasonThe mountain river shoulders up out of its banks, pushing into the willows and alder, washing flotsam upon new grass. The water, though, is clear. But it is big and fast and the run-out is not good:…
  • Liquid Canvas

    Water churning over rocks, tumbling over falls, and eddying quietly behind boulders—there’s nothing more powerful or beautiful than spring runoff in the mountains. The same thundering rivers and creeks that inspire…

Departments

  • Cold and Quiet

    Spring camping in the Park. Yellowstone has yawned herself awake and begun to shake free her winter blankets of snow and ice. Freshly thawed riverbanks swell with the promise of willow buds, hillsides whisper green, and…
  • Truing Your Frame

    Fit your bike to avoid injury.While cycling is relatively easy on your joints, because of the constrained position and repetitive nature of the sport, it can be easy to develop overuse injuries. These injuries are often…
  • Bison, Birds, and Blooms

    Photographing Yellowstone’s shoulder season. Yellowstone in spring is a photographer’s dreamscape. Newborn elk, moose, and bison wobble in green meadows. Birds flock north in search of nesting areas. Bears emerge from dens…
  • Dried & True

    Biking Lewis & Clark Caverns.  It’s mid-April, the Gallatins, Bridgers, and Bangtails are still glazed with snow, and you’re having a tough go at finding a free weekend for the 11-hour drive to the desert. Fret not—…
  • Bear Prepared

    How to stay safe. In southwest Montana, bear encounters are becoming increasingly frequent—and sometimes violent. In 2012, there were two highly publicized fatalities in Yellowstone Park, and increased reports of bear-…
  • Fatherhood Is In-Tents

    Camping adventures with kids. Look! Out in the woods! It’s a trapper… it’s a mountain man… no… it’s KamperDaddy! Gentle and unassuming, yet driven by the desire to provide “quality time,” he leads a never-ending battle for…
  • Spring Run-Off

    Top early-season trailsWhen the sun starts shining and the temperatures rise, Montanans itch to ditch the ski gear and make the change to warm-weather sports (until that late-May blizzard inevitably hits). Spring is a great…
  • In the Flow

    Studying CFS.As temperatures rise and a season’s worth of snowfall melts and pours down the mountains, area rivers and streams turn from frozen trickles into raging rivers.Sometime between the high water of spring and the…
  • Warm Walls

    Where to climb in (relative) comfort. The soft skin and atrophied muscles of spring climbing are painful enough without enduring cold wind and icy approaches. Luckily, there are myriad crags to polish up those winter-worn…
  • Eyes to the Ground

    'Shroom and shed hunting.Spring hunting in the Northern Rockies is most often dedicated to two critters—wild turkey and black bear. But there are other goodies to hunt this time of year, and you don’t even need a tag for…
  • Never Too Early

    Among Bozeman’s eclectic array of outdoor passions and pursuits, it pays to prioritize deer and elk hunting—nothing else can result in the kind of ongoing material gain like meat in the freezer. Sure, a day of skiing deep…
  • Outdoor Ennis

    Springtime recreation in Madison CountyEvery outdoor excursion, even an early-spring overnighter, needs a good base camp. Ennis fills that niche quite nicely, providing adventure, entertainment, and accommodation all…
  • Space Punctuation

    landmarks are prominent in Bozeman distant constraints with low punctuation aspiring destinations capped in distant turbulence life is a breeze across the expanse all to see and share the blue-rainbow-sky there is room for…
  • Lessons of The Land

    Do you visit the high plateaus Merely to hide away Or have you come to the mountains To hear what they have to say? For the mountains sing of a time When the Earth was young and green; Many’s the sunset and moonrise These…
  • Wilderness Safety with Kids

    Most of us who live in Bozeman are drawn to life outdoors, and once we have kids, we’re eager to share the wilderness with them. Kids thrive outside, but there are hazards that represent particular risk for young people and…
  • The Acoustic Atlas

    Montana's natural soundtrackMeandering his way across America with his dog Charlie, John Steinbeck found himself swept away by the beauty of Montana, lingering far longer than he anticipated in the small towns and natural…
  • Mount Up

    Making the most of your first horseback rideThe West wasn’t won from the back seat of an RV, and as the weather gets warmer and outfitters open for business, what better way to see our chunk of the country than by horseback…
  • Wolf & Raven

    Partners in time. Driving through the milky dawn twilight, the hills and forest of the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park begin to materialize. The air flowing over the vehicle seems to almost crackle with the…
  • For the Love of the Fly

    Not just for the boys“It’s so weird that you’re into fly fishing,” my friend said, looking at me from across the table. The responses that I get from other girls when they learn I’m a fly fisherwoman are varied. I’ve been…
  • Fresh Farmers

    Looking to eat local and support your community farmers this season? Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a cooperative agreement between farmers and members of the program. Members pay a fee for a seasonal subscription…
  • Oh Deer

    How to keep Bambi out of your gardenFew things are more picturesque than a deer trotting through a field—unless it’s on its way to your garden. That’s when Bambi turns into a destructive pest that you don’t want around. It’…
  • Meat & Greet

    All about the Western Sustainability Exchange.For years, Barb Dennis ran a pet-grooming business to help pay for her husband Per’s ranching habit. The ranch, called Wolf Ridge Lamb and Wool Company, was a solid business,…
  • Nothing Comes Free

    Earning Montana at the Baldy Blitz.Words of reflection around these parts frequently come accompanied by the adage: Montana doesn’t come free. You have to earn it. It’s never been truer than when applied to the Baldy Blitz—…
  • Raring to Go

    Easing your dog into spring activitiesSpring means new opportunities for you and your faithful canine sidekick. To maximize adventures and minimize visits to the vet, be sure to slowly transition your dog from couch mode to…
  • Burn It Off

    Shedding winter weight. The sun slowly returns from the south, much like the migrating birds. Plants prepare to emerge from the earth and animals become more active. Spring is a time of transition as nature re-emerges from…
  • Head or Gut?

    The fine art of the foul-hook“There’s one!” I say with the strained sort of exhale one uses to indicate a fish on the end of the line is bigger than it actually is.“Another? Seriously?” asks my friend Dave, a novice-enough…
  • SAM I Am

    A first-aid necessityWhether you’re biking the Bangtail Divide or backpacking through the Lee Metcalf Wilderness, you should always carry a first-aid kit, and that kit should include at least one SAM splint. These versatile…
  • O/B Blunders

    In the last issue, we gave a shout-out to Hit List entrant Dane Christensen—which was darn nice of us, except that we misspelled his name! (We called him “Dan.”) Apologies to Dane for the inadvertent truncation. In another…
  • Counting Sheep

    Montana's horniest beast.Southwest Montana is home to one of the country’s finest wildlife viewing opportunities: Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep traveling along the high crags, rock walls, and canyons. Naturalist John Muir…
  • Hang 'Em High

    Keeping the bears awayIn bear country, hanging your food, garbage, and scented items such as toothpaste, chapstick, sunscreen, deodorant, and toiletries is absolutely necessary. This easy and simple precaution will…
  • Here We Grow Again

    Bozeman Parks and Recreation UpdateBozeman is a great place to be and it’s no secret. It isn’t just our proximity to mountains, rivers, and national forests, but a community vision for growth that will help to ensure that…
  • Happy Trails

    Gallatin Valley Land Trust at workFor almost 25 years, the Gallatin Valley Land Trust (GVLT) has worked toward the creation of a trail system that connects downtown Bozeman with the public lands surrounding town. More than…
  • Worth the Wait

    Closed WMAs give Montana’s wildlife a breakMontana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) Region 3 is home to 12 Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) spread across southwest Montana. While three areas remain open year-round, the…
  • Night Prowlers

    Ah, spring! The time of year when robins return and gophers peep their heads out of winter burrows with their little brains turned to thoughts of romance. But while the meek conspire to inherit the earth through sheer…
  • Helping Hands

    Volunteering at local racesClouds thickened and rain fell hard on the Rut 50k running course, pelting 11,000-foot Lone Peak and the mid-mountain aid station. Volunteers huddled under tents as they laid out food and water,…
  • Closer to Wilderness

    In December, the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources approved and advanced Montana Senator Jon Tester’s Forest Jobs and Recreation Act to the full Senate floor. The four-year old bill would designate 670,…
  • Outlook - Spring 2014

    The big thaw starts slow. Warm weather and sunshine soften the high mountains and a season of accumulation begins to morph beneath the changing elements.Growing heat torments the frozen landscape. Awakening a sterile world…
  • Screw Your Selfie

    The meaning of experience.“We had the experience but missed the meaning. And approach to the meaning restores the experience in a different form.” —T.S. EliotIt seems obvious, at first blush, to think that we recreate for…

Gear Reviews

  • Review: Trask Dillon

    Stylish in an Annie-Oakley-meets-Jackie-Kennedy kinda way, Trask’s Dillon boots are handcrafted from high-quality calf-skin and designed specifically for a woman’s foot. These boots are a great fit for anyone seeking a…
  • Review: Platypus GravityWorks 2L

    I find it difficult to carry enough water to keep up with the demands of my favorite outdoor activities, and I’m also a stickler about saving precious weight when loading my pack. So it’s no surprise that the Gavityworks 2.…
  • Review: Scarpa Mont Blanc Pro GTX

    For an all-around mountain boot, I found the Scarpa Mont Blanc Pro GTX to be ideal. Snug and comfy right out of the box, with an Advanced Mid-Sole System for shock absorption and increased sensitivity, the Mont Blanc served…

Additional Articles

  • Abuse Avoidance

    Spring season is mud season—there’s no avoiding it. But no matter how eager we are to take to the outdoors after a long winter, it’s important to avoid using the trails until they’re dry. Why? Because hiking, biking, or…
  • Trail Helpers

    Unmanaged water erodes our trail resources quicker than you can say, “mud puddle.” Trails are only as safe and sustainable as the maintenance they receive, and our local land-management agencies are stretched to the limit—…
  • Arts & Culture Events

    March 15, 29, April 12Winter Farmers’ Market – Emerson Center for the Arts and Culture. This market focuses on food and agricultural products, and shoppers can find grassfed meats, goat cheese, root vegetables, greenhouse…
  • Chasing Tailwater

    Spring runoff. For the fly angler, this season of muddy torrents means one of three things: 1) wait it out; 2) fish still water (ponds and lakes); or 3) fish a tailwater river (controlled by a dam). Option 1 sucks, and…
  • Letters - Spring 2014

    Damn MantanaI was looking through your 2014 wall calendar, and while I think the pictures are very nice I take exception to the fact that they are almost entirely devoid of women. Typical. —Ann WilbertActually, there are…

Book Reviews

  • Book: Empire of Shadows

    Any time the word “epic” is used, I’m skeptical, but in the case of the Empire of Shadows: The Epic Story of Yellowstone (St. Martin’s Griffin Press; $20) nothing less would suffice. Author George Black paints a vivid…
  • Book: A Montanan's Short Stories

    A Montanan’s Short Stories (self-published, $16) is just that: small glimpses into Harlan Frank Pollmann’s life and times. The Harlowton, Montana native recounts anecdotes from his own experiences—adventures that could…
  • Book: The Real Wolf

    In Montana, the management of gray wolves is right up there with religion and politics on the list of things to avoid discussing in good company. The Real Wolf: The Science, Politics, and Economics of Co-Existing with…
  • Book: Landscape and Legacy

    Having grown up on Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front, I was excited to review the book Landscape and Legacy: The Splendor of Nature, History, and Montana's Rocky Mountain Front (Farcountry Press, $20) by John A. Vollertsen; I…
  • Book: The Beast in the Garden

    A combination of meticulous research and superb story-telling, David Baron’s The Beast in the Garden: A Modern Parable of Man and Nature (W.W. Norton, $15) never fails to engage, from the first page to the last. Though…

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