Summer 2016

Features

  • A Balanced Line

    Backcountry fishing by motorbike.  There’s something satisfying about defying convention, juxtaposing dissimilar experiences, and coming away with something new. And there are few things more dissimilar than fishing and…
  • Prospectors’ Peak

    Profiling Emigrant. The grandeur of the Western Beartooths has always astounded travelers in Paradise Valley bound for Yellowstone. Even while the deep gorges and jagged skyline above the lower valley inspire awe, oglers…
  • Wild Medicine

    Learning how to properly manage mishaps, address emergencies, and deal with disaster. Friends are visiting from out of town, so you want to show them all that Montana’s outdoors have to offer. You plan a trip that’s…
  • Road Dreams

    Fishing for stories.The dreams of fishermen become reality on the road. In the awakening, you have thought of the road many times, or perhaps more accurately, you have thought about what lies at the end of the road. The…
  • The Trail Ahead

    Mountain-bike advocacy in southwest Montana.The debate over mountain biking in Wilderness Study Areas and Recommended Wilderness Areas has been a heated one for decades. With the Custer-Gallatin set to revise its Forest…

Departments

  • It's in the Hole

    Fly-fishing's latest craze. Mist hangs low as dawn breaks over the water. Ducks preen silently in the shallows and red-winged blackbirds cry at your arrival. Your fly rod leans against the tailgate while you tie on tippet…
  • Castle in the Sky

    Exploring Gallatin Canyon's geology.Summer has returned at last: leaves on trees, sunshine after dinner, and melting mountain snow. Hiking in the upper elevations is once again an option. A beautiful hike with a dramatic…
  • Steak In-House

    Douglas fir cold-smoked tenderloin. You can’t always hop in the car and hit the road for your steaks, and sometimes making beef in-house is the only option. But don’t fret—this recipe will make you the hit of your next BBQ…
  • All Chewed Up

    Access conflict on the Jefferson.Public lands are few and far between on the Jefferson River, and now, the only public-floater camp on the upper Jefferson, known as “Beaver Chew,” is being threatened by a land-swap proposal…
  • Hidden Gems

    Fishing headwater creeks.As the years pass, I find myself spending more and more time on the little creeks tumbling out of mountain ranges like the Absarokas, Beartooths and Gallatins. Unlike many big-name rivers, justly…
  • Fat As a King

    Tying the Purple Royal Chubby.The Chubby Chernobyl is one of the most popular flies amongst anglers in southwest Montana. It floats like a champ, it’s highly visible, and it catches fish. And the fact that it can be tied in…
  • Gulls or Gods?

    All about the coyote.“A wolf!” someone shouted, pointing. Binoculars and monster camera lenses jockeyed at the Hayden Valley lookout. “No, it’s only a coyote.” The group sighed. Coyotes are not quite wolves, are they? But…
  • Bovine Bounty

    Sampling southwest Montana's beef.A place is defined by its food. Someone said that somewhere, right? Sounds good, and I think it’s true—at least partly. In an effort to prove the saying right, I went looking for Montana’s…
  • Wild Ride

    The dirt on mountain-bike access.Mountain biking in federally designated Wilderness Area is illegal, and most people think it should stay that way. But what about Wilderness Study Areas and Recommended Wilderness Areas?…
  • Free Montana

    Q&A with educator Thomas Elpel.Thomas Elpel is an author, educator, and builder out of Pony, specializing in survival skills and primitive living; he’s also an outspoken proponent of public access. I recently sat down…
  • Outlook

    Firehole Canyon, Yellowstone National Park.For photographers, mid-day light typically means downtime, but it can also be an opportunity to learn about stop-down filters for a heavy-lit, long-exposure photo, when light seems…
  • Learning to Fly

    A lesson with Bozeman Paragliding. All is quiet, save the low, undulating drone of cars passing below on I-90. Andy gazes to the west, silent and motionless; he’s reading the wind, waiting for the right moment. Minutes…
  • When a Grizzly Kills

    And what happens next.Since being listed as an endangered species in 1974, the grizzly-bear population has grown to over 700 individuals and their geographic range has doubled. “Bears are spilling into areas without the…
  • The Clove Hitch

    Essential knots, part 2. Long days afield offer plenty of time to work on the lost art of rope-craft, and one of the best knots to have in your repertoire is the clove hitch. An essential sailing and climbing knot, the…
  • Hot & Bothered

    Summer tips for dog-owners. Pretty much nothing beats going on an adventure with your four-legged friend, but it’s important to be responsible when taking your pup along. When the weather gets hot, it becomes even more…
  • Rock & Rule

    Safety guidelines for climbers.Before getting geared up for rock-climbing season, give some thought to safety. Here are three simple things to think about: properly threading top anchors, doubling back your harness, and…
  • Back in the Saddle

    Comfort tips for your bike seat.Many a cyclist has experienced uncomfortable or troubling groin, buttock, or back symptoms when pedaling for hours on his favorite road or mountain bike. The complaints often limit time on a…
  • The Celestial Coffee Pot

    Summer's starry sky. Whether you’re a saddle-weary cowpoke or a wilderness adventurer, there seems to be one gastronomical truth about the Western mythos of outdoor living: at the end of a long, hard day on the range, the…
  • Training Camp

    Sticking to your routine. So this is the summer you decided to tackle the Ridge Run or some other high-altitude sufferfest, which means a strict training schedule is in order. But it’s also summer, and camping out is a non…
  • Getting Trail-Fit

    Backpacking exercises.Summer’s here and it’s time to get in shape for that big backpacking trip you’ve got planned for later in the season. There’s no question that the best way to train for backpacking is to go backpacking…
  • Walk the Walk

    The importance of citizen involvement.Remember that favorite toy you had as a child? The one you took everywhere, slept with, snuck into your school backpack, and kept by your side through dog slobber and frisky marker…
  • Hooked on Camping

    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…
  • Fear Knot

    Learning to accept uncertainty. “When nothing is sure, everything is possible.”—Margaret DrabbleThe stone was cool and slightly clammy with morning dew as the canyon warmed beneath a molten midsummer sunrise. Gear—cams and…
  • Beers to Summer

    Pairing Bozeman’s breweries with recreation.We all love a tall frosty beverage with our outdoor recreation. Whether it’s a refreshing lager after paddling around Bozeman Pond, a citrusy Hefeweizen after mountain biking the…
  • Mapping Yellowstone

    Just when you thought your summer was all planned out, you opened the new Yellowstone National Park maps from Beartooth Publishing and everything changed. The detailed maps—both north and south versions—lay out trails,…
  • An App for That

    Ever wondered the best bike route to an in-town climbing boulder? Or been out with your dog and needed to drop a waste bag, pronto? Have you sought in vain for a comfy creekside bench to sit on and watch the water flow by?…
  • Ode to Red

    I killed it, I did not mean it, but it’s dead Not a comrade, nor from a cliff. I looked back with dread Squashed down flat, bang in my tire track. Swerve, I tried! In my head, the taste of the dead. Blood flicks my…
  • Between Dog and Wolf

    I went insane, you know. Certain Glacier epiphanies under the eastern mountain front affected a cure, continental divide road goings of sorts. My point of origin does not matter, not anymore, Yellowstone was only a fleeting…
  • A Watery Walk

    Hiking the Big Creek trail.The headwaters of Big Creek begin near the crest of the Gallatin Divide on the east slope of Eaglehead Mountain. The creek travels more than 14 miles eastward en route to the Yellowstone River in…
  • Copper Conflict

    A Montana treasure under threat. The disingenuous nonsense spewed forth by the mining industry over the years would be laughably pathetic if its message was not so dire for Montana’s wild places. The latest venal insult…
  • Exploring Ennis

    Summer along the Madison.Sixty miles southwest of Bozeman, in the heart of Madison Valley, lies Ennis. Originally a place of annual pilgrimage for the Shoshone, Flathead, and Bannack Indians, Ennis remains to this day a…
  • Hog Heaven

    Traveling light, fast, and free. Get your motor runnin’Head out on the highwayLookin’ for adventureAnd whatever comes our way —Steppenwolf In a blurred chiaroscuro of flashing chrome and muted leather, my riding partner…
  • Gettin' Batty

    All about Montana's flying mammal.In addition to deer, elk, and other big game which make the Treasure State so special, Montana is home to hundreds of nongame species of wildlife. And Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (…
  • Water Gone Wild

    Wild & Scenic designations in southwest Montana. There is a place up in the Absarokas, where a frigid, gin-clear river flows through a sprawling meadow fringed by a burnt-lodgepole forest. The river is filled with big…
  • Fast & Furious

    Maximizing summer fitness.Summer’s here and it’s time to get outside. While you might intend to hike, climb, bike, and fish your way through the season, grand plans can quickly transform into lawn games, beers, and BBQs.…
  • Strokin' a J

    Canoe-paddling basics.The first thing that any boater learns on the water is to always be prepared for a swim. Whether you’re a pro or getting in a canoe for the first time, the water in Montana will likely be cold, so it’s…

Gear Reviews

  • Review: GSI Pinnacle Dualist

    Convenience is king these days, and it doesn’t get much more convenient than the Pinnacle Dualist cooking system from GSI, especially if you backpack in pairs. The Dualist includes two bowls, two insulated mugs, two folding…
  • Review: Dakine Slayers

    Rocks are hard and bikes go fast, so in order to protect my boney knees and elbows, I got a set of Slayer Pads from Dakine. Now when I’m bombing down from Mystic Lake, I don’t have to worry as much about careering off the…
  • Review: SMITH Guide's Choice

    Few things are more essential to an enjoyable outdoor experience than a good pair of sunglasses. This is even more true during summer in the mountains, so I sprung for a new pair this year and ended up with the Guide’s…
  • Review: RUFFWEAR Approach Pack

    Most dogs that love trails love accomplishing tasks. That’s why it’s nice having my lab Hank carry his own load in his Approach Pack from Ruffwear. He gets a sense of pride out of the responsibility. While it took some…
  • Review: Maven B.3 10x30

    It happens all the time: you’re cruising down some backroad and off in the distance… is that a rock or a bear? I wish I had my binoculars in the truck…Well wish no more. The Maven B.3 10x30 binoculars are the compact answer…
  • Review: SITKA Fanatic Hoody

    From hunting and scouting to sitting around the campfire, Sitka’s Fanatic Hoody has no shortage of great features. The built-in face-mask not only adds concealment, but allows one to stay warm and breathe comfortably in…
  • Review: SCAT Griz

    The Griz bear-spray belt by Scat is a unique way to have your spray on the quick draw. A full-size canister fits snuggly in the horizontal pouch, there’s a Velcro strap to lock it in (I’d recommend not having the strap…
  • Review: Yeti Hopper

    Most every outdoor adventure has the need for a cooler, but a hard-sided cooler can be overkill for some outings. You want a soft-sided icebox that’s easy to carry, will keep your beverages cold, and won’t leak on a 90-…
  • Review: PEARL IZUMI Journey Short

    The days of Lycra are numbered… at least when it comes to riding bikes on dirt. Nowadays the options for technical apparel that isn’t skin-tight are plentiful and varied—but being a less-is-more kind of guy, I’ve opted for…

Additional Articles

  • Call of Duty: Trail OPS

    Modern trails systems are designed to shed water to help manage use. When you find puddles, or water running down the tread, take the time to investigate. Our trails only remain as good as the maintenance they receive. Most…
  • Welcome All

    As Montana anglers, we sometimes take river access for granted. Not so for the Public Land/Water Access Association, whose goal is to inform the public of access and ownership rights so that our state’s amazing rivers can…
  • Review: GOMACRO Macrobar

    On any long hike, run, or ride, when space is tight and the squished-food factor is high, the standard solution is to pack a protein bar—which often translates into a tasteless, rock-hard lump of who-knows-what sitting in…
  • A Bear Doesn't Care

    In the last five years, three people have been killed by grizzly bears in Yellowstone National Park. None of them were carrying bear spray, and according to the Park Service, only 28% of backcountry travelers utilize this…
  • Access Granted

    Montana's most egalitarian law.Whether it’s fly fishing one of the state’s blue-ribbon trout streams, kayaking or canoeing its clear waters, or just floating a lazy stretch of river with friends, Montana’s stream-access…

Book Reviews

  • Book: Buffalo Jump Blues

    Author Keith McCafferty has an impressive Montana pedigree, and Buffalo Jump Blues: a Sean Stranahan Mystery (Viking, $26) is the fifth installment in his murder-mystery series. While I’m not a big fan of murder mysteries,…
  • Book: Swift Dam

    Local author (and veterinarian) Sid Gustafson’s latest book, Swift Dam (Open Books, $7), is set against the real-life tragedy of the Swift Dam collapse in 1964, when 30 people died in dam collapses and flooding in northwest…

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