I've spent approximately 8 full days in Bozeman, Montana - all in the summer months - in my entire life. Consequently, I'm fully prepared for all of Montana's seasons! And I've traveled the state extensively - as long as you count the Gallatin Valley as "extensively"!
My lack of statewide - and season-wide - exposure notwithstanding, I'd like to offer a few (limited) observations:
- There's a reason that Montana is considered "Big Sky Country" - the sky truly is huge!
- Driving long distances in Montana is much more enjoyable (at least to me) than driving long distances in Nevada. Both states alternate between valleys and mountain ranges. The valleys in Montana are more to my liking - they appear to be fertile and well-settled (at least in southwestern Montana).
- Montana is a livestock state! We saw lots of cattle - and even some sheep!
- Unlike California, Montana seems comfortable with it's rural communities. I really noticed this during freshman orientation at Montana State University. Everyone emphasized the importance of the land grant university system. I graduated from - and currently work at - UC Davis; I've never heard a Davis chancellor talk about (let alone champion) the land grant system. MSU seems to take pride in educating students from rural communities - with the idea that these students will go home and make a difference.
Since our daughter Lara will be at MSU for the next 4+ years (or so we assume at this point), I think I'll get to visit Montana a few more times (at least). I even hope to visit in the winter (partly to convince Sami that cold weather and snow aren't the end of the world). In the meantime, enjoy these photos from our trip - mostly taken by our younger daughter, Emma - who told me after our first day in Bozeman, "I like it here!" I do too!