In his 1960’s “Travels with Charlie” Steinbeck wrote that he liked many states but that he fell in love with Montana. We have gotten some of the same feeling in our first days in big sky country. We started in Missoula, home of the University of Montana- known to all here as “the Griz”
Missoula is a lovely small city set along the Clark Fork River, named of course for William Clark of Lewis and Clark, who came through here in 1804 after their successful navigation of the great falls of the Missouri. It is a college town, with a bike path along the river, separating the U of M campus from the main town. It was a beautiful day and many students were out biking, running, and generally enjoying the sunshine. We, too, took to rental bikes and did the circumference of the town, stopping at a little gem, Le Petite, for a scone and coffee/tea.
Teddy Roosevelt is also commemorated here for his work in conservation in this area.
From Missoula, we headed north to explore Flathead Lake, the largest fresh water lake west of the Mississippi. The lake is quite spectacular and feeds, through Kerr Dam, the beginning of the Flathead River. The Gorge that the dam and river form is worth a detour.
We ended the day by traveling up the east shore of the lake to the town of Bigfork. Bigfork has developed into quite an artistic and cultural community and the small downtown was bustling. After an evening here we left for the trip south down the Swan River valley looking for our first Montana fly fishing! Stay tuned.