Mesmerized by Montana

I know, I know…you all thought Anik and I were stuck in South Dakota for the past month. In reality, we moved in, set up our place and have started our lives in Seattle. I’ve been in the middle of a job hunt, hence the delay in this post, but it’s worth the wait (I hope, at least).

Montana is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. Once we left South Dakota, we crossed over into even more rolling plains. While one edge of the state was filled with plains, the other was full of tall mountain ranges, making the drive diverse and interesting. The nickname “Big Sky Country” rings very true for Montana. You can see the sky all the way across without any intrusions – it’s pretty amazing.

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Our first stop in Montana was site of the Battle of Little Bighorn. Anik, being the history buff he is, was super excited about this. This is where Lt. Col. Custer had his last stand and the battlefield now serves as a memorial for soldiers who were lost in 1876. The museum gave insight into the struggles of the Native American community and how hard they’ve worked to preserve their culture.

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Our next stop was Billings, Montana. Billings is the biggest city in Montana and has a feel I wasn’t expecting. Unfortunately, we don’t have many photos, but street art and graffiti filled the sides of walls. Montana is apparently a hotbed for craft breweries as well. We grabbed dinner at Uberbrew, a gastropub where the food was fresh and super delicious.

We spent the night in Great Falls, Montana. Great Falls is the third largest city in the state, but it seemed like the city was a bit slower than Billings. It was pretty empty and our hotel had a strange stuffed black bear in the lobby (still trying to wrap my head around that one). We were ready to get out the next day and our drive to Glacier National Park was short enough to chug through.

As we continued driving, we passed through the Salish and Kootenai tribe’s Flathead Reservation. I don’t think I’d ever driven through an Indian reservation before, much less, one that large. It was so cool to see locals training on their horses and keeping up a lifestyle they’ve successfully preserved.

We had planned a quick dip at a hot springs resort on the way over. Ironically enough, we got the idea while in South Dakota as we passed a city named Hot Springs. The one in Montana happened to be the most convenient. Winding roads led to a peaceful place named Quinn’s Hot Springs Resort. The resort had 5 outdoor pools to choose from, each at different temperatures with a pretty awesome view. This was the perfect way to get a break from all the driving we’d been doing. Quinn’s is in a gorgeous location and even has lodges you can stay in for the night.

On the way in to Glacier National Park, you could see the Rocky Mountains from afar. While not as high as those in the Colorado, it was beautiful and we knew this was going to be unforgettable. We spent two nights at Glacier, did a few hikes and soaked in all untouched beauty that surrounded us. We also somehow avoided bears in the process, which I’m super thankful for. Here are a few snapshots from Glacier:

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There are very few places in the country where you can breathe absolutely clean air, see the stars clearly, and visit a breath-taking national park. Montana might be a trek for most, but if you’re up for an adventure, it’s worth the detour.

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