• The Thompson Creek Fire burns in Glacier National Park. Photo by Nicholas Parker

    More fires spark in Glacier – much of park still open

    As crews continue to contain the wildfire that shut down Going-to-the-Sun Road in late July, another set of fires sparked early this week.

    Most notably, the Thompson Fire near Nyack and Cold Creek “exploded” to more than 11,000 acres on Tuesday. As you can see from the photos courtesy of Nicholas Parker, it’s a big one.

    But, as park officials keep noting, much of the park is open and ready to explore.

    Mountain goats lick salt from the rails near Hidden Lake at Logan Pass. Photo by Nicholas Parker

    Mountain goats lick salt from the rails near Hidden Lake at Logan Pass. Photo by Nicholas Parker

    Here are a few suggestions:


  • lastbus

    ‘Last Bus to Wisdom': Montana events planned for release of final Doig novel

    We’ve always got a suggestion on which Montana books are worth a read thanks to our book reviewer Doug Mitchell.

    Doug reads a lot of books and then picks the ones he thinks you need to know about to feature in his reviews each issue. All his reviews are online here

    Ivan Doig

    Ivan Doig

    Earlier this summer, Doug featured Ivan Doig’s “Sweet Thunder” – including an author Q&A with the man who captured Montana so beautifully throughout his storied literary career.

    We’re reviving this post and review in anticipation of the release of Doig’s final novel “Last Bus to Wisdom,” which will be available a week from today.

    It was a shock to the state and his fans worldwide when Doig died in April after an eight year battle with cancer.

    Just weeks before his death, Doig chatted via phone with Doug, telling him at one point “I’m a full-blown Montanan all the way back to the times of the Anaconda Company domination, and I’m from the ‘other’ Montana; the ranching Montana, the rural Montana, the outback Montana.” 

    If you haven’t read the entire Q&A, it’s worth a read. 

    Doig’s words certainly live on in a meaningful way. You can (and should) read his memoriam page.

    And if you are around Montana, Washington or California next week, perhaps you can make a reading or celebration event being held for “Last Bus.” Below are the Montana events:


    Off-site at the Lewis & Clark Library
    120 South Last Change Gulch Street, Helena, MT 59601
    Free & Open to the Public


    28 W Main Street, Bozeman, MT 59715
    Free & Open to the Public


    Off-site at Ten Spoon Winery
    4175 Rattlesnake Drive, Missoula, MT 59802
    Free & Open to the Public


  • Roping time. Photo by Mark Edward LaRowe

    Top reader photos: Summertime scenes

    We’ve got quite an eclectic mix of pics for you this week, courtesy of our fabulous readers.

    From the Milky Way above a lookout tower to a set of cowboys doing what they do best, we present the top reader photos of the weeks, summertime scenes style.

    You can always see more reader photos here.

    Sunset near Big Sky. Photo by Chad Tague

    Sunset near Big Sky. Photo by Chad Tague


    Starry skies above a lookout tower. Photo by Jake Stufflebeam

    Starry skies above a lookout tower. Photo by Luke Stufflebeam


    Rainbows over McGregor Lake. Photo by Yvonne Moe Resch

    Rainbows over McGregor Lake. Photo by Yvonne Moe Resch


    Sandhill cranes at sunset. Photo by Whispering Peaks photography

    Sandhill cranes at sunset. Photo by Whispering Peaks photography


    Do you have photos of Montana you’d like to share? Email editor@montanamagazine.com with the jpg image, a short description and full photographer information.


  • Newton Old Crow. Photo by Erika Haight

    ‘Apsaalooke Beauty’ photo project on display

    If you’re in the Billings area today, we highly recommend stopping by the Western Heritage Center to check out the “Apsaalooke Beauty” exhibit of photos from the Crow Nation by photographer Erika Haight. Full information is below.

    Haight allowed us to show off her photos in the July/Aug 2015 photo Portfolio, which we called “Beautiful Connection.”

    • See more photos from Haight here 
    Photo by Erika Haight

    Photo by Erika Haight

    The Montana native and Roundup resident has long photographed Western life around Montana, taking her stay-at-home mom hobby to the professional level when her work began being published in publications like Cowboys and Indians Magazine.

    “Being a stay-at-home mom kind of gave me the liberty to go out and do other things. I got stuck on photography and bloomed from there,” she said.

    Haight’s set of black and white photographs from the Crow Nation, currently on display at the Western Heritage Center, was created after Haight forged a special bond with the Real Bird family of the Crow Nation.

    Haight’s “Apsaalooke Beauty” exhibit will be on display at the Western Heritage Center through Sept. 12.

    It’s an intimate compilation of work gathered from years spent getting to know Crow people and traditions.

    “I would hope that my exhibit would give the viewer an intimate glimpse of my experiences and time spent on the Crow Reservation,” Haight said. “(These are) images that depict the love and respect that I have for their people, and all of the rich cultural traditions that still flourish today.”




    Want to see the whole “Beautiful Connection” spread? Subscribe today!


  • Shiloh, a three-week-old North American beaver born at ZooMontana, greets vistors Tuesday. Photo by Casey Page

    Video: Zoo Montana debuts baby beaver born after surprise pregnancy

    This little one came into the world in pretty dramatic fashion.

    Now the newest member of the Zoo Montana family is thriving and nothing but cute.

    Billings Gazette reporter Mike Ferguson explains:

    BILLINGS – Nearly three weeks into a life that almost wasn’t, Shiloh the beaver, made a splash during its first media appearance at ZooMontana on Tuesday.

    Zookeepers aren’t quite sure about Shiloh’s gender, since beavers do not have external sex organs.

    The two-pound semi-aquatic rodent swam around a back room at the zoo Tuesday morning in a plastic tub. It also emitted some high-pitched cries and took to a bottle full of formula mixed with food. All this occurred under the watchful eyes of Jeff Ewelt, the zoo’s director, and Debra Harris, the zoo’s assistant curator and Shiloh’s main keeper.

    The offspring of zoo beavers Huckleberry and Finn, Shiloh was named to honor the veterinarians who first treated the kit at Shiloh Veterinary Hospital. Shiloh’s sibling was stillborn. Shiloh was born via Caesarian section. Shiloh was “essentially dead” at birth, but was revived by veterinary staff, Ewelt said.

    “We didn’t have high hopes, because Shiloh’s sibling didn’t make it,” Ewelt said. “We thought we’d err on the side of caution. But she’s received unbelievable care” from both veterinary staff and zookeepers, he said.

    Harris’ fingers have the bite marks to prove that Shiloh has already begun using its tiny but sharp teeth. A small tree cutting also sports baby gnaw marks.

    “We are so excited, because she’s so resilient,” Harris said, assigning the newborn a gender that’s not quite yet apparent. “We have never raised a baby beaver born at the zoo.”

    Born weighing 320 grams with its eyes wide open, Shiloh, a North American beaver, has since tripled its weight, to more than 900 grams — about two pounds.

    Eventually, she’ll weigh in excess of 50 pounds, Ewelt said. Huckleberry weighs 54 pounds while Finn is two pounds lighter.

    The young beaver is allowed to communicate with its parents daily from the safety of an animal carrier, but not to hang out with them quite yet. Keepers fear that the older beavers might become territorial with their kit.

    “We hope that she stays connected to us,” Harris said, “but we also hope that mother and father take to her well.”

    Zookeepers thought that Finn had been neutered until Huckleberry began showing signs of pregnancy. Because Finn keeps his organ close to the vest, so to speak, his sterilization surgery proved to be something else.

    “We got his scent glands instead of his stuff,” Harris said with a laugh.

    Ewelt said he hopes Shiloh will be ready for the public this fall, when students once again begin making field trips to ZooMontana.

    “Spring field trips are getting more and more popular,” he said. “We are trying to get schools to talk about making fall trips.”

    After all, Shiloh won’t remain this adorable forever.

  • white deer 1

    Adorable (and unusual) Montana ungulates

    Inspired by these awesome photos of an albino deer in Musselshell County taken by a a sheriff’s deputy there, we decided to share a few awesome ungulate images from our readers. Scroll down to take a look. 

    If you get a chance, give the MHP Facebook page a like. You can see the albino deer photos there.

    Here’s another photo Undersheriff Edwards captured 

    whtie deer 2

    Next, we’ve got a couple photos for you to fawn over (had to do it!).

    A Montana fawn. Photo by George Tillman

    A Montana fawn. Photo by George Tillman


    Mule deer fawn. By Nicole Swoboda

    Mule deer fawn. By Nicole Swoboda

    How about this horse and its girl. It fits the adorable bill, no doubt.

    A girl and her horse. Photo by Mark LaRowe Photography

    A girl and her horse. Photo by Mark LaRowe Photography

    Finally, a shot of a coupe of moose who needed a night on the town.

    Moose in the street. Photo by Yvonne Moe Resch

    Moose in the street. Photo by Yvonne Moe Resch

    Do you have photos of Montana wildlife you’d like to share? Send them our way by emailing editor@montanamagazine.com. Please include a jpg image, brief description and full photographer contact information.


  • Hotel Montaña de Fuego Resort & Spa in La Fortuna, Costa Rica. Courtesy photo

    How to stay in ‘Montana’ when you’re outside the Big Sky State

    We don’t usually like to make suggestions about places to go that send you away from Montana.

    But if you must, here’s a fun story about the options you’ve got if you want to stay in Montana while out of state (or the country). Missoulian reporter Vince Devlin found more than a few places that have borrowed the Montana state name:

    Homes away from home: You can see a lot of the world and stay in a ‘Montana’ hotel

    By Vince Devlin

    If you’re a world traveler who likes to feel at home, here’s good news: On five continents, in 45 nations, in more than 100 cities and villages around the globe, you can spend the night in Montana.

    It may be the Hotel Montana, the Montana Hotel, the Montana Hostel, the Montana Motel, the Montana Vista Hotel, the Montana Guest House, the Villa Montana Beach Resort, the Montana Lodge or – if you’re in Indonesia – the “Montana Boutique Resort and WaterBoom.”

    Only a couple of them are co-opting our state’s name, of course. Most are likely doing what we did – latching onto the Spanish word for “mountain.”

    Still, you can be strolling down the Rue la Fayette in Paris, driving down Cyanika Road in Rwanda, taking in a concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London, visiting the Beshtak Palace in Cairo, birdwatching in northern Argentina, sailing past the northwest tip of Puerto Rico, hiking the Lycian Way in Turkey or skiing in the Austrian, Swiss, Italian or French Alps and find, nearby, lodging with “Montana” in the name.

    If you’re in the United States, however, near as we can tell, you’ll have to be in Montana to spend the night in a motel named the same as the state – and those choices will be few and far between.


    Hotel Montana in Fiss, Austria. Courtesy photo

    Hotel Montana in Fiss, Austria. Courtesy photo

    If you’re wondering which of these 100-plus hotels would be most interesting to visit, we can probably save you some time.

    The remote Montana Magica Lodge in the South American nation of Chile looks like it would fit the bill.

    The lodge is, after all, inside a man-made volcano that erupts (with water, not lava) and turns the rocky outside of the cone-shaped lodge, which is covered with moss and vines native to the rainforest, into a circular waterfall.

    Montana Magica Lodge is located in the Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve, a private, for-profit nature preserve dedicated to ecotourism.

    Google the lodge, take a look at the images, and we think you’ll agree: If you could only visit one “Montana” hotel, this would likely be it, because you’re not likely to find anything – by any name – like it anywhere else in the world.


    If you can visit two, there’s a myriad of possibilities for a runner-up choice. Among them:

    • The Montana Pine Resort Hotel and Spa in Oludeniz, Turkey. On the Aegean Sea, Oludeniz is renowned for its beaches, although the resort itself is located 400 meters above sea level in “a sea of Mediterranean pine trees,” and in the shadow of Mount Babadag. Mount Babadag is famed for its paragliding opportunities, and the resort owns its own yacht and offers guests the “Montana Boat Cruise” on Fethiye Bay.

    • A-Montana Resort in the Sarangani Province of the Philippines. The rooms are on stilts, built above water, and it was originally a private getaway for friends and family of a businessman from the city of General Santos.

    • The Montana Art Deco Hotel in Lucerne, Switzerland. Overlooking Lake Lucerne, this four-star “palace hotel” opened in 1910 – just in time for a little downturn in the tourism industry known as World War I – but has persevered. For 18 years, from the 1970s to the 1990s, it closed each winter so that it could be returned to its art deco roots.

    • The Montana Hut in Koh Kood, Thailand. The five river-view bungalows and wooden house with three sea-view rooms on Khlong Hin Beach is remote – its island home is reachable only by boat – and the little resort’s website cautions that “a small dirt road connects Montana Hut to the main road. At night this road is only for experienced drivers, though, it’s dark and can be bumpy.”

    • The Luma Casa de Montana in Villa La Angostura, Argentina. In the foothills of the Patagonian Andes, on Nahuel Huapi Lake and in Nahuel Huapi National Park – twice the size of Glacier National Park – this hotel looks like a quiet, scenic place to spoil yourself. Leave the kids at home, though. No one under 16 is allowed.

    Read the rest of the story here

  • Ivan O'Neill is one of the founding members of the Over the Hill Gang. Photo by Beck Lomax

    Meet the founders of Glacier’s longest-running hiking group

    Planning a hike in Glacier National Park anytime soon? Here’s a story you’ll want to read.

    Imagine hiking in park once a week for the past 39 years.

    Photo by Becky Lomax

    Photo by Becky Lomax

    Introducing the Over the Hill Gang:

    Story and photos by Becky Lomax

    On a gray drippy day, a group of 16 Flathead Valley hikers, ages 60 to mid-80, eyeball the pouring rain.

    Inside their restaurant meeting place on the west side of Glacier National Park, no one looks at a menu to order breakfast.

    The waitress, greeting the regulars by name, asks, “You want the usual?”

    One member quips, “With the rain, maybe we should stick around for lunch.”

    But weather does not deter these weekly hikers. Not rain, snow or single-digit temperatures.

    Every Thursday, nearly year round, the Over the Hill Gang meets at the Glacier Grill in Coram.

    After breakfast, they depart to multiple trailheads – some to lung-busting, seldom-visited peaks, and others to worn paths where every red mudstone and gnarled sub-alpine fir is a familiar friend.

    It was 1976 when five men in their 60s launched the Over the Hill Gang.

    Read the rest of the story here




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