Driving into Bozeman Montana at sunset should be on everyone’s bucket list.
I ticked it off my bucket list shortly after the fourth of July when I visited my friend Colin, who is in school at MSU. It was a treat pulling up to a small random creek and throwing my fly line in the water before the last of the light disappeared behind the mountains. Having never been here before, I simply pulled up Google maps and looked for the closest creek or river.
Colin was working at Montana Aleworks, one of the best places in town for draft beer and finger food at happy hour, so I stopped in my first night. Getting to know the waitstaff and bartenders was fun while I waited for Colin to get out of the kitchen. I went back every night for happy hour because it was such a cool place to hang and talk with Bozeman locals, especially if Colin and his friends that I had met, Ian and Thomas, were busying working.
My schedule was free to do whatever came up in Montana, and we tried our best to stay active despite all of the cheap six packs consumed. First off was Hyalite Canyon, a quick twenty minute drive, where we saw Palisade Falls.
This was impressive to see up close, you can actually go in the waterfall for a nice dirtbag shower! After having a waterfall photo-shoot, we went freesolo up the canyon wall on some splitter cracks for a better view of the surrounding mountains. The mountains in Montana are BIG, so this only got me pumped to visit in winter when the snow arrives (soon hopefully).
Later that day, we chose to go downhill mountain biking in Leverich Canyon which was only five minutes out of town! This was fun because I had never used a nice full suspension bike to rip through the trees.
To me, downhill mountain biking is the closest thing you can do in the summertime to emulate skiing powder through the trees. I was using Colin’s friend’s bike that was not sized for me so I just walked the uphill and rode the downhill. SO. MUCH. FUN. #NeedMountainBike
After another night at Aleworks, we woke up early and took a trip up in Hyalite Reservoir, where we hiked and had a picnic in the meadow. Chilling down by the water with a few beers was so much fun.
We were swimming, listening to music, laughing, and watching an Osprey dive into the water to catch fish. Nature at its best! The bugs eventually came out at sunset so we jogged the trail back to the car to head down the canyon into town.
Taking a trip into nature that has been untouched by human hands is a special, soul-nurturing experience. I love going to sit in nature and just observe the surroundings. Hyalite Canyon is a place that will always be one of my favorite in Montana because it was so special to me the few times I was spending time there.
The next day we decided to do a little summer skiing in the chute known as The Great One with Colin’s work friends Sam and Nick. I hiked the whole way to the peak in my Teva sandals where we encountered numerous mountain goats. We had to scare them away because our Sam’s dog could have provoked an attack.
After having a safety meeting to at the top, and midway down the chute we hiked out of the valley floor, around the lake. Freshening up with a cold hippie shower in the lake added to the summer refreshment I enjoyed on the peak. #FreeTheHeelFreeTheWang
For only being thirty minutes out of town, this was a cool summer ski opportunity that I am glad we capitalized on. Following the ski mission, we watched some world cup action and headed over to Aleworks for happy hour drafts and appetizers. My favorite was The Juice Double IPA.
Waking up to adventure was easy when there was so much fun stuff to do close to town. I met up with US National Telemark racing champion Madi McKinstry for a hiking mission with her friends from school. Halfway through she had to bail for work, so I continued on and decided I would hitchhike the twenty minute drive back to town later. Six miles later I reached my destination where I could see fish through the crystal clear water. I assembled my fly rod and waded into the chilly pond. After having a few strikes at my dry fly, I realized I didn’t bring any other flies to tie on and decided to give up the fishing for the day. At that moment, a Pine Pig (forest ranger) popped out of nowhere and asked for my non-existent fishing license. Charmander the charmer did not succeed in getting out of a ticket for fishing without a license, just add it to my tab with the government. Hiking out six miles pissed off, fishless, and without a ride back to town was not the best hiking I’ve ever done, despite the surroundings. Just before the parking lot I found a ride and chilled in the backseat with a puppy enjoying the nice Montana breeze.
I arrived back at Colin’s house just in time for the live music on main street to be ending and the downtown party to get started. We cruised down on bikes just in time for the cops to roll through and clear the street of drunks. The open container law is lifted for the evening so the liquor is flowing through the streets, like the Boulder Flood of 2013, one night a week during the summer. Cruising past the (then empty) beer dumpster on our way up the hill, we stopped to take a safety meeting and make sure that everyone could ride down without crashing in the dark.
The next day we drove up to Bear Lake, which turned out to be a warm pond. We skipped rocks and had some fun diving after the frisbee into the lake. We got to hang out of the truck on the way back and rally the empty dirt country roads.
Spending a week in Bozeman Montana was a spontaneous trip that I didn’t even plan on taking until the morning I called Colin and started driving north after my 4th of July fishing mission in Wyoming. I drove through the Wind River Canyon and stopped to wet my fly line. No bites but some pretty cool rocks!
I recommend everyone spend a week of next summer in the Bozeman area to adventure and play in the natural beauty that Montana is full of. Camping, hiking, biking, fishing, kayaking, rafting, climbing, skiing, swimming, boating, drinking, backpacking, and all around adventuring within an hour of town is what makes Brozeman Montana so special to me. Thanks Bozemanites, enjoy the video, made with almost all of the clips I got while in Montana!