• Thompson River Chain of Lakes

    Ready, Set, Go! to the Thompson River Chain of Lakes

    Thompson Chain of Lakes Montana Magazine

    The water of Horseshoe Lake is clear, quiet and vibrantly colored. Photo by Cathie and Gordon Sullivan

    It’s still early spring – not quite camping weather for most of us – but those beautiful and sunny spring days make it hard not to start thinking about those summer rec plans.

    If you’re looking for ideas, we’ve got a good one in the May/June issue of Montana Magazine where Gordon and Cathie Sullivan tell us about the Thompson River Chain of Lakes in between Libby and Kalispell.

    We’re calling it the perfect tranquil retreat.

    Like a brilliant string of emeralds, the lakes thread throughout 3,000 heavily forested acres pressed between the Salish Mountains to the north and the rugged Cabinet Mountains to the south.

    Experts like Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologist Gael Bissell will tell you the remote Thompson River Chain of Lakes is not only a beautiful and restful recreation spot, but also represents an important stronghold for common loons, those well-dressed birds of distinction.

     Among lakes to experience nesting loons is Little McGregor, Horseshoe, Island and Lower Thompson, but approach with extreme caution and stay well outside the bright yellow buoys for best encounters. Foggy spring mornings are best. Other loon sittings can occur on almost any of the lakes in the chain.

    Here’s how to find the Thompson River Chain of Lakes

    READY, SET, GO!: TO THE THOMPSON RIVER CHAIN OF LAKES

    THIS SET OF 18 LAKES CAN BE FOUND ALONG MONTANA STATE HIGHWAY 2, SITTING BETWEEN KALISPELL AND LIBBY. THE SITE INCLUDES 83 PRIMITIVE CAMPSITES AND 8 GROUP CAMPSITES, ALL OF WHICH REQUIRE A FEE FOR OVERNIGHT CAMPING. ROADS ARE PRIMITIVE AND NOT RECOMMENDED FOR MOTOR HOMES AND LARGE TRAILERS. HOWEVER, THE 22 DEVELOPED CAMPSITES AT LOGAN STATE PARK, LOCATED ON MIDDLE THOMPSON LAKE, ARE SUITABLE FOR LARGE CAMPING UNITS

  • Montana Territory

    Time to celebrate with the May/June issue

    We’ve got history. We’ve got horses. We’ve got places to play. We’ve got food. The May/June issue of Montana Magazine has a lot to celebrate and it’s ready to read now.

    With all there is to read, a couple celebrations take center stage. First, writer Jesse Zentz takes us back in time to the Montana of 1864 – when the area was officially granted territory status 150 years ago. It was the Wild West no doubt. Also, writers Kristen Inbody and Erin Madison take us back in time and explain the conception of Montana State Parks. The system is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year and we’re encouraging everyone to get out and explore the 54 parks spread across the state.

    That’s just a sliver of the stories included in the May/June issue.

    All our preview content is up at MontanaMagazine.com. If you’re looking for a full print copy, check out our list of vendor locations.

    Enjoy!

    - Jenna

     

    Giant Springs State Park Montana Magazine

    Giant Springs State Park in Great Falls. Photo by Roland Taylor

  • “Flat Head War Party” by Henry Meloy. Courtesy of the Hamilton Post Office

    New Deal murals still hang in six Montana post offices

    Post office mural in Billings. Photo by Thomas Lee

    Post office mural in Billings. Photo by Thomas Lee

    Lots of cool things came to Montana thanks to the New Deal back in the 1930s. The Civilian Conservation Corps helped build some of the most important infrastructure of Montana’s state parks and plenty other structures that helped shape the state. 

    And six artists were commissioned by a special New Deal program to paint murals inside Montana post offices in Billings, Deer Lodge, Dillon, Glasgow and Hamilton. The works of art are still hanging today and in most cases the artists who painted them went on to have storied painting careers that captured special moments of Montana history.

    We ran a cool story about the murals in the March/April issue of Montana Mag.

    Below is a location list of the six murals. If you’ve got business in one of the six posts offices listed below or are hitting the road and passing through one of these towns, don’t forget to take a few minutes to stop and appreciate the art.

    Here’s where to find Montana’s six New Deal post office murals are spread across the state

    - “Trailing Cattle” by Leo James Beaulaurier, Billings Downtown Post Office Station, 2602 1st Ave.

    - “James and Granville Stuart Prospecting in Deer Lodge Valley – 1858,” by Verona Burkhard, Deer Lodge Post Office, 510 Main St.

    - “News from the States” by Elizabeth Lochrie, Dillon Post Office, 117 South Idaho St.

    - “Montana’s Progress”  by Forest Hill, Glasgow Post Office, 605 2nd Ave. South

    - “Flat Head War Party” by Henry Meloy, Hamilton Post Office, 150 North 4th St.

    - “General Sully at Yellowstone” by J.K. Ralston, Sidney, Donald G. Nutter Building, 123 West Main St.

    - Jenna

  • Montana slang: Montana photographer puts together an impressive list

    Photographer Todd Klassy is known for the great images he takes across the state.

    Turns out he’s a bit of a scribe, too. Klassy posted a great list of “Montana slang” terms on his website recently. It’s a pretty funny list that anyone who’s spent time in the Big Sky State will appreciate.

    “Montucky” made the list. As did “Moose Drool.”

    The first slang term (listed in alphabetical order) is “A bit nippy out:  20 degrees below zero or colder.” 

    I’ve definitely heard that one before. But there were a lot of terms (“can openers: spurs” or “Chesterfield:  a sofa”) that I hadn’t heard before. 

    Whatever your fluency with Montana slang, it’s a fun list.

    Enjoy!

    - Jenna

     

  • A 1954 photo of Imogene and her husband Bruce Hansen, holding daughter, Susan Marie. Photo courtesy of Janet Fulkerson

    ‘Montana is Calling’ a beautiful poem about missing Montana

    A 1954 photo of Imogene and her husband Bruce Hansen, holding daughter, Susan Marie. Photo courtesy of Janet Fulkerson

    A 1954 photo of Imogene and her husband Bruce Hansen, holding daughter, Susan Marie. Photo courtesy of Janet Fulkerson

    Of all the emails, letters and phone calls we get about Montana Magazine each day, some always stand out. They’re the notes about the allure of Montana and the want of so many to come here, live here one day, or for the natives who’ve moved away, to come back one day.

    These notes are always great to read, and many are beautiful and poetic too.

    So we thought we’d start sharing some these notes, poems and stories in a section on MontanaMagazine.com called “Love Letters to Montana” (it’s under the More of Montana tab on the home page.)

    We’ve put several love letters up and will add more soon.

    One of my favorites came from Janet Fulkerson, who found writings by her mother Imogene Z. Hansen after Imogene passed away in 2013.

    Imogene lived and raised a family in Helena before poor health forced her to move to Indiana to live with Janet. The photo with this post is of  Imogene and her husband Bruce Hansen, and Janet’s sister, Susan Marie.

    Her poem, “Montana is Calling,” was written in 2012. The full poem is here and a snipped is listed below. It’s worth a read.

    Montana Is Calling

    By Imogene Hansen

    September 17, 2012

    My heart’s in Montana; my heart is not here.

    It’s in Big Sky Country so high, wide, and clear.

    From the mountains and prairies that I loved to roam

    Montana is calling, and I want to go home.

    I miss Montana which is far, far from here

    where the earth is too flat and the sky seldom clear.

    - Jenna

  • The Catholic Burger Stand is manned entirely by volunteers, like Dr. Mark Zilkoski.

    Wild Horse Stampede: The secret’s in the pickle juice

    The Catholic burger. Photo by Lynn Donaldson

    The Catholic burger. Photo by Lynn Donaldson

    Not only does the Wild Horse Stampede in Wolf Point boast the best rodeo, parades and wild horse races in the West – you can also find what is arguably the best burger in the state during the event that takes place there each July.

    You might have to wait awhile to get a “Catholic burger,” but as writer Richard Peterson told us in the March/April 2014 issue, it’s worth the wait.

    Along with his feature about the storied history of the Wild Horse Stampede, Peterson let us know where you can find a Catholic burger. And photographer Lynn Donaldson found out from one of the cooks that the “divine” taste of the burgers comes from the pickle juice that is splashed on the fried onions that top the burger.

    It’s tradition for Stampede-goers to munch on a “Catholic burger,” an iconic food people are willing to wait for. Some wait for as long as 45 minutes in 90-degree plus temperatures to get a taste, Peterson wrote.

    An annual fundraiser for the Immaculate Conception Catholic Parish in Wolf Point, the burger stand – open 24 hours during the Stampede – will go through a ton of hamburger and hundreds of pounds of onions in four days, parish member co-organizer Kerry Hanks said.

    “That smell of fried onions and burger drifts down the block, and sometimes the line of people will, too,” she said. “That’s a big part of our success.”

    Not quite as old as the Stampede, the Catholic burger stand has been in operation for 66 years. It started as a small concession stand on one of Wolf Point’s side streets, but its popularity forced it to set up on an empty lot on Main Street during Stampede.

    This year, you can get a Catholic burger for yourself July 10-13 during the Stampede.

    - Jenna

  • "Transitional spring" at Ninepipes National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Mark LaRowe Photography

    Montana springtime slideshow: Clouds and baby animals

    April is here. As most of Montana continues to shake off the winter, it seems like the right time for a springtime slideshow.

    And thanks to our great Facebook friends, we’ve put together a pretty nice set of images to share.

    In some ways, we could call this the Mark LaRowe show. Mark shared a handful of amazing shots, including the calf, the Ninepipes weather and the baby bighorn images included here.

    Also have to give a big thank you to Catherine Dotson (McMillian Ridge), Ken Stolz (Freezeout Lake), Travis Scott (rainbow) and Yvonne Moe Resch (McGregor Lake) for sharing images with us.

    Our readers easily the best. Enjoy!

    - Jenna 

  • Makoshika State Park is Montana's largest state park. Photo by Jason Savage

    Top four things to see and do at Makoshika State Park

    We shared a spread of photos by Jason Savage featuring Makoshika State Park in the March/April issue Portfolio that was pretty incredible. I hope you had a chance to check it out.

    And now, I hope it inspires you to go take a look at the park in person.

    Makoshika’s 11,538 acres – located just outside Glendive – are filled with giant formations of light colored capstone that reach toward the expansive eastern Montana skies like elegant pedestals.

    I talked with Makoshika Park Ranger Tom Shoush for some insider tips about what visitors should do and see once they reach the park. Here’s a Top Four list based on Tom’s recommendations:

    • Drive the 10-mile road through the park.
      “If the road system is open, I always tell people to drive to the top. That’s where the views are,” Shoush said.
    • Watch out for dinosaur bones.
      The bones of 10-12 species of dinosaurs have been found inside Makoshika. Most of the finds, Shoush said, are large herbivores that lived near end of the age of dinosaurs. The most significant is an entire Thescelosaur, a “very rare” and “tremendous find” Shoush said.
    • Stop at the visitor center.
      It’s home to dinosaur bones and rare artifacts left behind by ancient peoples. “A human presence in the area dated back to 10,000 to 12,000 years ago,” Shoush said.
    • Stop by during the “spring green up.”
      Shoush recommends visiting from Makoshika in mid-May through mid-June.
      “I tell people somewhere around June 1 you have the best chance of seeing the flowers in bloom and the migratory birds have returned,” he said.

    - Jenna

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