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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • The Shonkin Sag: One of the Most Important Geological Sites in the World

    By Todd Klassy, with Photos by the Author
    The beautiful landscapes found along the Shonkin Sag have had a significant impact on art, too. Its rugged terrain, as well as the buttes and mountains that flank it, influenced the work of Charles Russell, one of the most famous Western artists of the 20th century.
  • The Flathead Lake Monster, Still At Large

    By Ednor Therriault
    A few imaginative paleontologists have suggested that what people are seeing could be a plesiosaurus, an aquatic reptile from the Early Jurassic period. Some eyewitness reports are uncanny in their description of this carnivorous dinosaur, from its 40-foot length to its large flippers and snake-like neck, tiny head and long tail.
  • Lightning in the Wild

    By Bruce Smith
    During my years among mountain goats, studying their lives and capturing their images on film beginning in the 1970s in Montana, lightning seemed to follow me like a faithful companion. Several times I shed my camera and lenses, spotting scope and tripod, and sprinted for cover.
  • I Didn't Die in Montana: Hank Williams Jr. on Ajax Mountain

    By Nick Mitchell
    Sliding, he picked up speed. Snow that had frozen, melted, and refrozen into shards tore at his skin while rocks, jutting out of the snow like land mines, struck his head and body, leaving large gashes but failing to slow his descent
  • The Big Sky at Night: A Journey Into Darkness

    By Doug Stevens
    Montana is blessed with some of the darkest skies in the country, due to lack of any large light-polluting cities. Couple this with the many wildernesses and other wild and scenic set-aside areas, and one can get far away from even the light of small towns.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Montana’s Wild Heart: The Rocky Mountain Front

    By Bill Cunningham
    Two centuries ago when Lewis and Clark explored the vast land we now call Montana, they encountered a wilderness of some 93 million acres. Today, less than a tenth of this land remains wild and undisturbed.
  • Alone at Many Glacier: Being a Winterkeeper at One of Montana’s Least Accessible Hotels

    By Amy Grisak, with photos by David and Rebeccah Wilson
    It’s practically impossible to mention a winterkeeper’s position without thinking of The Shining, but aside from the wind sounding like people singing down the halls of the grand old hotel, David assures us it is far more grounded. Barely skipping a beat from his summer work, he had plenty to accomplish when the guests were gone.
  • When Yellowstone Erupts!

    By Joseph Shelton, with graphics by Rob Rath
    The blast is unthinkable, impossible to understand in human terms. Still, there are some who are far enough away that they have a moment to try. They can see a flash that overtakes the horizon, and then for a moment, they see a black streak rising into space. The scale of it is enormous beyond reckoning.
  • Life During Wartime at the Charter Oak Mine

    By Carl Davis
    The crucial role of the Anaconda Copper Mining Company and other big mining enterprises in World War II materials production is widely appreciated. Less so is the contribution of Montana’s many small-scale mine operations.