• Meet the toughest kid in Montana

    Big Sky Spotlight: Meet Koni Dole

    Koni Dole. Photo by Paul Ruhter

    Koni Dole is a pretty inspiring (and tough) kid.

    Dole, the subject of our Big Sky Spotlight for the May/June issue, lost his leg after a football injury in 2012. But as writer Jim Gransbery tells us, during the first game of the 2013 season, Koni was on the field.

    With a pair of very intense brown eyes, Dole is the walking definition of focused. In a private interview after a strenuous workout accompanied by his best friend, Tanner Miller, Dole described his thought processes leading up to his decision that the way forward was to cut back his damaged leg.

    “I was stuck in bed for a week,” he said. “Everything was OK. One day my parents (Nancy and Fualelei Andy Dole) came into the room. They were upset. There was a look on their faces.

    “Everything that controls the foot was gone. I had a non-functioning foot. It was depressing. I had worked my (butt) off. I had goals. But the choice lit a fire in me. Actions speak louder than words, so I had to accept it. It was my best chance of coming back.”

    The work to get back onto the field was painful and intense. Jim told me he’d never come across such a tough and determined kid. And in 2014, Koni will walk on to the Montana State University football team.

    His answer to the question “What three words describe Montana?”: Close-knit communities.

    Check out Koni’s full story on our website. We post our full Big Sky Spotlight from each issue, including the Q&A section. Check out past BSSs here and here.

    - Jenna

     

    • Buds above the Flathead River. Photo by Robin K. Hao
    • Spring runoff near Libby. Photo by Natatum Haines

      Spring runoff near Libby. Photo by Natatum Haines

    • Plowing Cooke Pass in early May. Photo by Mike Holt

      Plowing Cooke Pass in early May. Photo by Mike Holt

    • It

      It's getting green in Northwestern Montana. Photo by Robin K. Hao

    • First morel sighting of the season. Photo by Natatum Haines

      First morel sighting of the season. Photo by Natatum Haines

    • Robin eggs are the prettiest blue. Photo by George Tillman Photography

      Robin eggs are the prettiest blue. Photo by George Tillman Photography

    Spring scenes: A photo gallery to help you thaw out

    As Montana continues to thaw out from another cold winter, we thought it’d be nice to share some spring scenes with you, courtesy of our great Facebook friends who continually share their images from across Montana with us.

    A special thanks to Robin K. Hao for the beautiful images of the Flathead River and “Getting Green” in Northwestern Montana; Mike Holt for the image of the Cooke Pass plows; George Tillman for the image of the robin nest; and Natatum Haines for the image of the spring runoff near Libby.

    Enjoy!

    - Jenna 

  • MT Mag book reviews: Premium page turners

    Bad Luck Way Montana Magazine

    “Badluck Way” by Bryce Andrews.

    There’s probably not a lot of people who read more than Montana Magazine’s ace book reviewer Doug Mitchell, who writes the Montana book features for each issue.

    But if you’re looking for some good readin’ here’s Doug’s reviews for our May/June issue.

    Make sure you scroll all the way to the bottom so you can read a really great Q&A with Badluck Way author Bryce Andrews. Doug asks Andrews about his motivations to write the books, and about Andrew’s conflicting feelings about the role of ranching and the role of wolves across Montana’s farmlands.

    As Doug writes:

    In Badluck Way author and ranch hand Bryce Andrews moves the debate from policy to practice as he shares with us his year working on the Sun Ranch in the magnificent Madison Valley. In doing so, Andrews challenges us to see these debates differently because, as is often the case, the reality of a real-life decision is very different than an intellectual one.

    But to describe Andrews’ book as a useful and interesting academics-meets-real-life story is to significantly diminish the accomplishments of this first book from a very gifted writer.

    You can read more of Doug’s reviews here.

    Enjoy!

    - Jenna

  • 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

  • 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

     

  • ‘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

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