Today is Valentine’s Day, and it since love is in the air I thought it might be appropriate to point out a few things that have enhanced my 30-year love affair with Montana. Coming from the South Dakota in 1982, I had no idea that I would fall in love with so many outdoor activities that Montana has to offer. I know that I am like many of you when I say I love living in Montana. There are a lot of firsts for me in Montana like one of the first times I experienced floating on a river.
I joined some friends and did a two-day float on the upper Blackfoot River, camping out on the campground that runs along Highway 200. That experience opened a whole new world for me. My dad joined us one year on that same stretch of river while he was visiting and I still have a picture of him with a fly attached to his neck from an errant fly-cast he took.
My next river experience I found myself floating down the gorge on the lower Clark Fork River. The thing that still stands out in my mind about that trip was how the guide was informing us that he had never been on raft that flipped over. Moments after that our raft did just that, flipped over. The next thing I knew was that I had a death grip on the rafts life line. It was another Montana experience that I will always remember.
A few years later I purchased my first boat and found myself heading for Hauser Reservoir and fishing for kokanee salmon. It may be hard to believe now but back in the 80’s and until the mid 90’s Hauser was known as the Kokanee capitol of the world. Anglers from all over would come and fish Hauser and end up catching 2-3 pound salmon.
My fishing adventures would later take me to lakes and reservoirs all the state. Each body of water would offer unique scenery and most of the time fish biting my hook. In South Dakota, where I was raised, my hunting experience consisted of pheasants and maybe deer if I was lucky enough to draw a tag for the 9 day deer season. So you can see why I fell in love with the variety of hunting that Montana has to offer from waterfowl, deer, elk and of course pheasants. I was also introduced to antelope hunting around 1990 and each year it is one of the hunting trips I just love to go on, if I am lucky enough to draw a tag. In the winter months I am able to ice fish one day and downhill ski the next. Just another reason I love Montana.
In my job with the Montana Outdoor Radio Show I have also had the opportunity to meet and create life-long friendships with folks as I travel across the state. Montanan’s come from many walks of life, and we are a very independent bunch, but when it comes to spending time in the outdoors we all share a common ground. Deciding what activity you love to do the best might just be the most challenging aspect of living in Montana. Happy Valentines Day!