Montana, You Surprised Me!

It’s hard to believe its been almost a year since I was in Montana!  This was during the time I was stepping back from the blog but loved it so much I had to come back and write about it!

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I wasn’t that excited to visit Montana.  I had this pre-conceived notion in my head that Montana was flat, brown and boring.  I have no idea where I got that idea from but there you have it.  Arriving in Montana had me even more skeptical of the state as well.  Arriving from Houston was complicated.  There are no direct flights from Houston, you have in connect in either Phoenix, San Francisco or Seattle.  For this trip I connected in Seattle then on to Missoula.  My flight from Seattle to Missoula was with Alaska Airlines which was a nice enough airline but man, I was a little nervous about the flight.  Getting on the plane, it looks like a prop plane with propellers on the engine and everything.  The ride was smooth enough…until we got to Montana.  Apparently there was a lightning storm and we couldn’t land.  We were circling in the air for about 45 minutes then the pilot came on and said we were turning back for Seattle!  This 1 hour flight had now turned into a 4 hour flight and I wasn’t even there yet!  When I finally got to Missoula it was past midnight.  Talk about a long travel day, and needless to say so far, Montana, I am not impressed.

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Patchwork landscape…and the prop plane

Since it was dark and rainy when I arrived I didn’t get to see any of the landscape and headed straight for the hotel.  In the morning though, stunning is probably the best word to describe my surroundings.  I walked outside and there were mountains, green everywhere, a little snow.  It was beautiful.  It was NOTHING like I expected.  I couldn’t wait to explore the rest of the state.  I was meeting up with another colleague that day and we were to make it down Montana to Bozeman than back to Missoula.

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When I picked my colleague up we headed out of the city.  I don’t remember all the names of where we went since he planned our visit but I can tell you I couldn’t stop looking out the window and my jaw being on the floor.  Everything was so vibrant and beautiful.  Troy wasn’t that impressed but he grew up in Washington state so he’s used to this.  As a southerner, I am so not.  He was cracking up because by the end of the trip I had him drive just so I could roll down the window and take pictures while we drove.

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When we got to Bozeman I couldn’t believe this cute little town was in Montana.  It had a hip downtown, a trendy hotel and, shock upon shock an adorable little honey shop where I bought 3 jars of honey!  On top of that, everyone is just so dang nice.  I don’t think we talked to anyone that was rude or even slightly grumpy.  Everyone knows about southern hospitality, but the people in Montana give us a run for our money.

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One day we ended rather early and I decided to take the 3 hour round-trip drive out to Yellostone National Park.  I didn’t have time to go inside but I did get to see the entrance gate and the old timey town right outside of it.  I learned from this trip there are quite a few entrances to Yellowstone, some in Montana and some in Wyoming.  Crazy right!  Of course the closer you get to an entrance the higher the hotel prices are so FYI.  The drive up to Yellowstone was so pretty.  There were mountains streams, animals, and very few cars.  It was once of the nicest drives I’ve been on.  I did stop a few times to snap some pics and let me tell you, these do not do the landscape justice.

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I was truly sad to come back home to Houston and know there will be a day when Joe and I take the dogs on a road trip to Yellowstone National Park, because that’s the way its meant to be seen; in a car, with your family!  We will definitely make our way back to Montana, I cant wait to explore all it has to offer.  Until then, if Montana wasn’t on your “places to see in America” list before, it should be now!!

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CHIME IN!!!  What was your first impression of Montana?  Are you an outdoor explorer?  Mountains or plains?

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