So you know how I’ve mentioned my bucket list? Well, Montana? Not in it either! Just like Indy, never thought I’d go there. I’d heard nice things. I’ve seen the No Reservations episode, it looked beautiful. And my uncle, who is a truck driver and has been to almost every corner of the country, once said he’d seen the most beautiful sunset in Montana. Still, I never even bothered to imagine it.
But one day, while discussing my boyfriend’s upcoming birthday, I mentioned I would take him to Portland, Oregon. Why? because we enjoy watching Portlandia, duh! And then I dropped the hint that he also wanted to visit Montana some day. And BAM! Two tickets to Missoula from a dear friend!
Montana is beautiful! I can’t tell you about the sunsets though. I was too busy looking at all the amazing countryside! True to my obsessive self, I wanted to see every corner of the state in our mere three days. But no! This new and improved traveler managed to settle on a few points of interest and focus on those. And so it was that I found myself in Missoula and Yellowstone in one weekend.
Now, let me tell you something about my guy… he doesn’t like to plan. He’s the wing-it type of traveler. And you see, I’m quite the opposite. A travel contrast, if you will. I plan the sh!t out of my trips! Yea, sure, leave some room for spontaneity. But there are some things I need to know before I go. Namely: do I have a place to stay? I don’t really like the idea of roaming around in a foreign place, in the middle of the night, and not knowing where I will lay my head. Well guess what? that’s exactly what we found ourselves doing after a long day of flying, driving, and walking around Yellowstone.
No vacancy, read the signs. I went down the list of nearby hotels in Yelp and one by one they shut me down. I kept seeing myself being a random Bear’s dinner while sleeping in our crummy old rental. It turned out just fine. I threw caution to the wind and let myself see where this little adventure took us… not very far, as it turns out. Destination: Days Inn. Hey, at least there were comfy beds! It’s always an adventure with him, and although it might be quite a contrast from my plan-everything-kinda-gal, it certainly gives me the opportunity to learn a new, possibly more fun, way of doing things.
If you find yourself in West Yellowstone, Montana, for breakfast try The Running Bear Pancake House. The breakfast was delicious!
But did I mention how beautiful Montana is? After a series of beach and urban trips, it was nice to go to the small towns and Yellowstone National Park. Man those geysers are a sight to be seen!
And then there’s the wildlife… I’m a scary cat, I know it. I have no desire to be bear food or be gored by bison. But my guy had other plans. He was all about the wildlife. We spotted some Elk, Deer, Bison, and a Bunny. But of course, no trip is complete without spotting a bear! He was dying to see a bear, and he got to talking with a park employee who clued us in on the perfect trail to spot one. So he buys some bear mace and so we go on our completely delusional mission to see a bear.
The trail was desolate, and I believe this is what let the fear set in. To make sure we were completely ready to battle a bear, my guy decides to test the bear mace… you know, so that he’s not fumbling with it in front of the bear. So funny how we were so fearful of the bear, when we should’ve been a bit more concerned about the imminent threat that a man with bear mace can be! Yup, he maced us! I think it’s hilarious! But of course, not so funny in the moment, when you are choking and it feels like your nostrils, throat, and eyes are burning! No bears were spotted. But that moment was one for the books. Have you ever been maced? Any wild encounters with wildlife? do share!
Missoula is a small town, with all the small town charm! The people were very friendly and the scenery breathtaking! A beautiful river runs through it (hint hint: have you seen the movie?). There are beautiful trails for hiking and biking. And if you ever find yourself in Missoula, make sure you go to the Big Dipper Ice Cream Shop. The line forms around the block right after dinner time!