Wild Places

  • A Day In The Life of a Smokejumper

    By Greg Anderson
    Two jumpers are in the air – they make sure they stay a safe distance apart on their descent to the jump spot. The first jumpers land in the spot. The J-13 is now over the exit point, and the second two jumpers exit the plane.
  • The Descent into Bighorn Cavern

    By Scott Sery
    Rappelling in, you arrive in a large room named the Cloak Room. It is here that you shed your climbing gear; it won’t be needed until you ascend back up the rope to your above-ground home. From here you have fourteen miles of known passages that twist, turn, split, dead-end, and squeeze under rocks to explore.
  • Driving in the Steps of the Corps of Discovery

    By Holly Matkin
    We invite you to hop in your car to set off on a trip back in time, crossing paths with the Corps of Discovery’s route through central and southwest Montana as you embark on an expedition of your own.
  • Travelers' Rest: A Study in Precision on the Lewis and Clark Trail

    By Lindsay Tran
    The team also found several artifacts that could be attributed to the Corps, including a blue bead, melted lead, and a tombac (metal) button. Most interestingly, the latrines they uncovered contained a not insignificant amount of mercury, a dead giveaway that the poop in the pit belonged to non-Native individuals.
  • The Crazy Mountains: Montana’s Less-Heralded Alternative to the Tetons

    By Doug Schmittou, with photos by Robert Schmittou
    Encompassing an area roughly 30 by 15 miles in size, the Crazies are Montana’s most impressive island range. With 23 summits that exceed 10,000 feet in elevation, the highest of which is Crazy Peak (11,214 feet), the Crazies also are Montana’s third-highest mountain range.
  • Eyes to the Big Sky: Montana’s UFOs

    By Chris Muhlenfeld | Illustration by Rob Rath
    His heart rate jumped, and gooseflesh rose on his forearms, sending a shiver down his spine. His jaw went slack, and his mind raced as he stared south, baffled by four massive black rectangular objects, each with red lights on them.
  • Bannack - Montana's Best Preserved Ghost Town

    By Doug Stevens
    The early history of Bannack is very “colorful” and reads like a Hollywood western. With Virginia City also booming to the north, there was an active stage line between the two gold towns.
  • Adventure in the Little Belts

    By Amy Grisak
    With 9,000+ foot peaks surrounded this untamed area that’s home to countless elk, moose, a smattering of wolverines, black bears, mountain lions, and the rumored grizzly. For those seeking adventure or solitude, the Little Belts are the place to be.
  • On the Trail with Sheepherders, Groundskeepers of the Land

    By Hallie Zolynski, with photos by the author
    The name Montana conjures up cowboys herding cattle on the open prairie, and gunfighters hiding out in canyons to hide from rope-swinging vigilantes. But does Montana summon images of the lone sheepherder tending his flock and enduring days of solitude, bitter cold and the intense summer heat?
  • Running Free

    By Jessianne Wright
    Confined to the 39,000 acres that is the Pryor wild horse range, these horses are wedded to the landscape. Many are clothed with the very colors of the Pryor Mountains themselves. Horses the color of dampened limestone, faded grass, and mudstone.
  • The National Bison Range - A Story of Vision, Tragedy and Homecoming

    By Doug Stevens
    Bison play a central, integral role in the cultural, spiritual and ceremonial life of many western Native American tribes in both the plains and the intermountain areas, such as Montana. Their relationship to the bison runs deep and is ingrained into who they are as Native people
  • Touring the Medicine Line

    By Michael J. Ober
    Members of Montana’s Native peoples called it the “Medicine Line,” the White people’s invisible trace of the 49th parallel. They knew that the “medicine line” offered safety from pursuing U. S. military units bent on forcing them onto reservations in the late 19th century.
  • Montana Glaciers From Above!

    By Garrett Fisher
    Glaciers add a nuance of complexity to mountain flying. As it is, mountain flying is complicated and can be dangerous due to wind, terrain, altitude, reduced aircraft performance, turbulence, and weather.
  • Skating on Swan Lake

    By Kay Bjork
    Skating on wild ice is truly a spiritual experience. The sensation of gliding along a frozen lake can be like flying. An experience that is surreal, exhilarating, uplifting and at times—frightening.