“Going to the mountains is going home”. ~ John Muir
We all have that sense of going home when we revisit a place, either physically or in our daydreams, that strikes a chord in our soul. The greater Yellowstone ecosystem, of which Bozeman is a part, is reminiscent of home to us.
So many memories swirled around me as we drove across Montana – the smell of rain on a warm summer day, pine needles wafting up from a trail crushed by our footsteps, the sight of billowy clouds hugging the limestone-crested mountaintops, the squawking of magpies as they hop across a golden meadow.
Yep, we are having that déjà vu feeling of going home as we scan the 360º mountain range view and those big Montana skies. We spent two years in Yellowstone after escaping the corporate life and fell in love with the west in a much deeper, soul-healing way. The beauty and serenity of the wild surrounds us here, creating a perfect flow. This is our “true west”.
Bozeman has been discovered since we last visited. It is tough to see land being chewed up by plot after plot of subdivisions, but it was bound to happen. Bozeman now boasts 8 breweries, a great farmers’ market, a vibrant downtown lined with boutique shops, and is on the cusp of being a “foodie town”.
Leaving the downtown area you are immediately enveloped in uninterrupted vistas. The breathtaking beauty of six mountain ranges that almost completely surround Bozeman beckon to outdoor enthusiasts year-round, and the many ranches dotting the landscape speak to the strong conservationist spirit here.
We’ve spent sunny days hiking in the Bridger Mountains, playing pickleball at the local tennis club, reconnecting with Yellowstone friends, enjoying great meals prepared by our friend Jim, and hop-scotching across the city taste-testing microbrews.
This is a place that welcomes you, a place where you begin to wonder if you could lay down more permanent roots. It has been a perfect place to spend a couple of weeks, thanks to our gracious host and hostess Jim and Rosie. We can’t thank them enough for welcoming us into their beautiful home, filling our days and evenings with fun activities and lots of laughter, watching stunning sunsets and storm clouds build while relaxing on their deck.
One final adventure before saying our goodbyes, and it was quite a send-off, was a magical day at the Montana Folk Festival in Butte. One of the Northwest’s largest free outdoor music festivals, the Montana Folk Festival featured multiple stages with 20+ continuous international musical performances throughout the day and into the evening. This festival rivals the national event we had been to several years earlier, also in Butte, and has continued for the past six years through the generous donations of its visitors and local sponsors.
Our trek north continues, as we make our way to Glacier National Park.
So, where is it that home calls out to you?