Now that I am moving back to Montana, I had to take a quick trip to retrieve my car from my son, who had driven it up when he moved about a month ago, and to find a place to live. While there, in between reacquainting myself with the city, I manage to squeeze in an early morning walk with my friend's dog, Lady, a sampling of the new locally crafted gin, and a camping trip.
The first day and a half was spent settling into my friend M's guest room, fetching my car, taking my son shopping ('cause that's what moms do) and driving around to see what had been built, torn down or otherwise changed in the 2 years since I lived there. On the 3rd day, I ventured out for a brisk walk to Rattlesnake Creek. My friends were clever enough upon moving to Missoula over 25 years ago, to choose a house within walking distance of a creek and Greenough Park. They have had a succession of nature loving dogs over the years, the current of which is Lady, an 80 lb mix of retriever, hound and maybe a little pit. She has one blue eye and one brown eye and is so light on her feet you barely hear her walk. I wasn't the only one to venture out on that sunny morning, passing moms with kids, a dad running with a baby stroller, several bikers and at least 3 other people and their canine companions. Lady is the perfect walking companion, eager to run on ahead, but remaining within eyesight. She came when she was called, stood beside me to politely let the bikers pass, and did nothing more than give the approaching dogs a tail wag and brief sniff. When a lady came within shouting distance with an overly bouncy dog, straining at the leash and trying to dance around us (the dog, not the lady), doggy Lady didn't even mind my putting the leash temporarily on her. After the human lady and the bouncy dog had passed, I quickly took the leash off, apologizing into her mismatched, but incredibly soulful eyes, promising not to make her suffer that indignity again.
There are those places at which you have only to point a camera to capture gorgeous scenery. Vermont, where I vacationed last Fall, is that way. So is Montana. On any given day, you can find a deer grazing in your yard, a hawk sweeping over a river, a mountain turning pink from the setting sun. All you have to do is point your camera, or in my case, your phone, and you can bring all of that nature home with you. I am so excited to know that within a few short weeks, I'll be back in Missoula full time for, hopefully, more than a few years.
Next time: Missoula's very own gin and vodka distillery, and camping on the Blackfoot River.